ANDERSON – The Anderson Redevelopment Commission is continuing discussions with the developers of the Bingham Square Apartments on necessary improvements.
Last year the Anderson City Council approved a $935,000 bond to complete the renovation of the former Courtyard Apartments, 2725 W. 16th St.
The funds came from revenues generated by the city’s Tax Increment Financing district.
The city is not obligated for the repayment of the bond issue, which is being funded by the increased assessed valuation of the Bingham Square Apartments.
In recent months there have been numerous complaints from tenants to the Anderson Housing Authority, Anderson Municipal Development Department and the Anderson Human Relations Department.
In August, the Anderson Redevelopment Commission (ARC) sent a 30-day letter to the owners, Property Resources Associates, to come into compliance with the terms of the agreement with the ARC.
An action plan to make the repairs is to be submitted to ARC members.
“The Anderson Redevelopment Commission entered into an agreement with a private developer, PR Bingham, LLC, where the Commission agreed to provide TIF bonds for a portion of the expense involved in rehabilitating the 129-unit apartment complex,” ARC attorney Mike Austin said. “The private developer agreed to invest more than $3 million of its own funds into the project. The TIF bonds will be repaid from the increased real estate tax revenues generated by the complex, not by taxpayers.”
The rehabilitation work was to have been completed by June 1.
Austin said ARC members have met with Bingham’s representatives on several occasions to make sure problems are corrected, and the rehabilitation of the complex is completed as required by Bingham’s agreement.
He said Bingham has indicated that the rehabilitation process has been challenging for a number of reasons, including the fact that the company is dealing with COVID, difficulty obtaining materials, and difficulty scheduling workers.
“The Commission recognizes that rehabilitating a large, dilapidated apartment complex is difficult, but has insisted that Bingham comply with its agreement to do so, and has insisted that Bingham develop a realistic plan for completing all the work that it has agreed to do,” Austin said.
“The Commission’s goal has not changed,” he said. “The Commission has attempted to provide incentives for the developer so that the City of Anderson ends up with more quality affordable housing. The Commission will do everything within its power to achieve that goal.”
Kim Townsend, executive director of the Anderson Housing Authority (AHA), said last week that 21 clients currently live at Bingham Square.
She said there was no hot water on Sept. 16 through Sept. 20.
“The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Administration considers that a health and safety hazard and (it) has to be corrected within 24 hours,” she said.
Townsend said the owners indicated an invoice was misplaced and the bill was subsequently paid and natural gas service restored.
She said the natural gas outage affected 13 of their clients in three buildings.
Mary Randol, assistant director for AHA, said all the apartments were supposed to be inspected, but there were no inspections done.
She said for non-emergencies, the owners have 30 days to make the repairs in the apartments that fail inspection.
Randol said tenants are looking for apartments and AHA could break the lease.
Townsend said a problem is the lack of available housing in Anderson for clients.