Blaisdell Apartments: The Council approved the use of $8.5 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance the acquisition and renovation of five apartment buildings in the Whittier neighborhood that contain a total of about 150 units.
Blaisdell Housing Limited Partnership is working to acquire the Blaisdell Apartments, located on the 2100, 2200 and 2300 blocks of Blaisdell Ave. S. The extensive renovation proposed for the apartments will have a total price tag of more than $13 million and includes roof repairs, new windows, new flooring, upgraded electrical and plumbing systems, and new appliances. Most of the units will remain affordable housing at 50 and 60 percent of the area median income.
Council Member Robert Lilligren (6th Ward), who represents the neighborhood the apartments are located in, voted against the measure. Lilligren said the project is fine, but he has concerns because it’s in an area that already has a high concentration of affordable housing.
“It forever limits that area’s viability at producing a local economy,” Lilligren said, adding that he wants to revisit the city’s policy on de-concentrating poverty.
But Council Member Gary Schiff (9th Ward) said the city isn’t suppressing rents in the buildings but simply providing the means for the buildings to be rehabilitated.
Target Center: The City Council voted to put a new management team in place at the Target Center.
AEG Facilities, Inc. will manage the city-owned Target Center, a job that has been held by Midwest Entertainment Group LLC (MEG) since 2004. Profitability for operating the Target Center has seen a decline since 2000, according to a city report, and MEG announced in February that it would no longer operate the arena effective May 2.
As part of the 18-year agreement, AEG has agreed to make a $2 million upfront capital investment in the Target Center. It has also agreed to limit the city’s obligation in supporting arena losses to less than $2 million a year in upcoming years and will share annual net income improvements with the city.
False Alarm Fees: The Council voted 9-4 to approve an ordinance that charges residents and businesses a fee every time their burglar alarm system has a false alarm.
The approved ordinance requires that residents pay a $30 fee for their first false alarm. Along with paying that fee, alarm owners would be required to register their alarm with the city. The second false alarm would incur a fine of $100, and the fine for each false alarm thereafter increases by $100.
The new revenue generated by the registration fee and fines would almost cover the estimated $750,000 in costs the city is expected to incur responding to false alarms this year.
Under the ordinance in place now, alarm owners are charged a $200 fee beginning with their third false alarm. The fee for each false alarm thereafter increases by $100.
Members of the Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee and city staff have been working to find a compromise to the false alarm fee after several council members expressed concern at a meeting in March about charging residents for false burglar alarms. Council Member Paul Ostrow (1st Ward) argued this is the best way to recoup the city’s costs for responding to false alarms.
“There is a cost for false alarms that we will pay one way or another,” Ostrow said. “We’ll either pay for it through property taxes or with a fee.”