By Donnelly Clare
The City of Stevens Point could soon have Edgewater Manor back on the tax rolls.
Conditions are favorable for the city to finally unload the embattled property to Affordable Senior Housing (ASH) of Central Wisconsin. City planning leaders say they chose ASH after several months of debate over whether the city should sell the property and to whom.
ASH, which is owned by Rhinelander attorney Phillip Parkinson and local contractor Tom Ludwig, outbid KJM Properties, owned by seasoned senior- living property owner Krista Mendyke, and Seramur Family Limited Partnership, which owns and operates various rentals properties in the area, including The Windsor and Porter Place in Plover.
ASH offered $1.55 million with plans to remodel the building and add assisted- living services to some parts of the building, as well as a “donation to the Youth of Stevens Point” for the property.
Mayor Andrew Halverson said the proposed agreement with ASH protects seniors currently living in the 81- unit senior living apartment building, which is almost 40 percent vacant.
“Our main focus was always making sure that those tenants would be protected,” Halverson told the City Plan Commission. “And it also freezes the rent for three years and then allows for only a one percent increase in rent for existing tenants from that point forward.”
The property has been operating at a loss since HUD funds dried up in 2008, leaving the city unable to properly manage the property.
“One of the challenges with Edgewater Manor is it needs a lot of upgrading,” said Community Development Director Michael Ostrowski, who told City Plan Commissioners the property couldn’t compete with other area senior rental units in its current state.
City leaders are also considering placing the property inside the struggling downtown TIF district. According to city documents the property would then bring in an additional $263k in tax revenue over the next ten years, and $578k over the next 20 years with its current base value of zero.
But not everyone agrees with the decision to sell the property.
“The problem I have with you guys making this or any decision tonight is, they (the CDA) aren’t giving you any alternative if they city would keep it,” said Stevens Point business owner Barb Jacob.
“If the city were to keep this property how much money could we make? All they’re telling you is, ‘if we sell it, we can do this’. They’re not giving you alternatives, and I think you guys need to have that information in front of you because you’re not getting the full picture.”
The Stevens Point Common Council will discuss and possibly vote on the agreement during it’s regular monthly meeting Monday night, 7 PM in the City-County building.