Downtown housing moves forward

DOWNEY - In a step towards redevelopment, the City Council approved an interagency contract on Tuesday to secure more than $660,000 in federal funds, which will be used for the demolition and renovation of the former Verizon property on Second Street.The cooperation agreement provides the Community Development Commission with funding for the Verizon project and requires that the Commission complete demolition of the property and utilize the funds by December 31, 2010. After being awarded $661,034 in federal funds in February, the city is moving swiftly to utilize the money, which several local cities applied for after Congress established the Neighborhood Stabilization Program for housing projects. The contract, approved by the Council, helped city staff achieve their first objective by obligating the funds before May 1, 2010. Under the agreement, the federal housing funds are secured and transferred from the city to the Community Development Commission, which currently owns the Verizon facility. In 2008, the Commission used federal housing funds to purchase both the Verizon facility and the Avenue Theater with the intention of building several low to moderate-income housing units in the downtown district. According to a recent staff report, staff members intend to use the new federal funds to provide gap financing for the Verizon project. Specifically, the funds will pay for the demolition of the building, which will commence only after the Commission has reviewed and approved a disposition and development agreement for the project.

********** Published: April 30, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 2