$ 9.3 million planned renovation for troubled Porter Apartments

LANSING – A Lansing senior housing complex once plagued by health and safety violations has reached a deal with the city to help fund a $ 9.3 million building renovation of apartments.

Lansing City Council last week approved a 40-year payment in lieu of tax agreement for the Porter Seniors Apartments at 505 Townsend St. as the complex’s current deal expires at the end of the year. year. The city council had previously delayed the renewal of the tax treaty, citing the poor living conditions and the deterioration of the building for seniors.

The new deal would net Lansing $ 46,594 in payments over the course of the deal. The low-income resort is currently tax exempt, according to city records.

The owners of the building have asked the city to renew the payment in lieu of tax agreement on a loan and tax credit package through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to pay renovations to the century-old building.

Brian McGrain, Lansing’s director of economic development and planning, said the Porter has needed investment for some time to deal with ongoing problems.

“It will absolutely benefit the people who live there,” he said.

Porter’s management company did not respond to requests for comment.

Redwood Housing Partners presented a plan for Porter Senior Apartments on September 20 to renovate the facade, HVAC system, elevator upgrades, specific unit upgrades and site accessibility. They will also ensure that 80% of the workforce used is local, according to documents filed with the city.

Since taking over Porter last May, Redwood has performed unit inspections and corrected health and safety issues, contracted new pest control services, repaired front doors, and expanded services to residents.

“We expect them to do what they say they’re going to do,” McGrain said.

Tape seen placed over a hole in a plinth intended to prevent rats and mice from entering Anthony Loggin's apartment, seen Tuesday November 10, 2020, in the Porter apartment complex in the 500 block of Townsend Street in downtown Lansing.  Residents say the resort is infested with rats, mice, cockroaches and bedbugs.

Rodent complaints, unsanitary conditions plagued the Porter

The former owner, California Commercial Investment Cos. was the target of complaints and frustrations from residents last winter.

The building was at the center of several local organizations like the Metro Lansing Poor People’s Campaign and several current board members regarding its conditions. But the city, county, and federal officials have deemed it safe for habitation.

Following detailed requests for comment, Scott Heaton of California Commercial Investment Cos. submitted a written statement in November stating in part that the company is dedicated to providing “safe and hygienic housing.”

“We have a wide variety of policies and procedures in place designed to support this mission,” he added in the email, “including policies that govern the maintenance requirements of our buildings and of our residential units “.

Complaints from residents: Porter residents say problems persist despite years of complaints

The Ingham County Health Department has received at least nine complaints from residents since 2017, a public records request revealing infestations of rodents, bedbugs and mold.

Read complaints: Complaints filed with Ingham County Health Department

KMG Prestige, based in Mt. Pleasant, now manages the building. She manages several other affordable housing in the city such as Walnut Manor, Willow Vista 4 and Vista 9. She also manages market-priced buildings such as Metro Place.

Since new management took over, the company says it has addressed pest control issues, replaced laundry equipment, repaired the front door system, started daily interior and exterior cleaning, and better engaged with staff. residents.

Many older buildings are experiencing rodent and pest issues, McGrain said, and it can be difficult to deal with maintenance issues.

“It’s a century-old building,” said McGrain. “Things happen with older buildings. “

Cardboard covers open pipes in Anthony Loggins' apartment, seen on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, in its place in the Porter apartments in downtown Lansing.

HUD, the city “works closely” with the new owners

As a private subsidized housing complex, HUD inspects the property every two years.

HUD officials gave the building an inspection rating 65 in 2019, against 87 in 2017. Scores between 60 and 100 pass.

The Porter was scheduled to undergo a follow-up inspection, but HUD has suspended in-person operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those operations were re-launched in June but inspectors did not return to the Porter, HUD records show.

HUD approved a housing assistance payment contract with the new owner in May 2021. This contract allows HUD to pay directly to building owners the portions of the rent covered by federal housing vouchers.

“We are currently working closely with the new owner on the next steps to ensure the provision of safe and decent housing and to anticipate the substantial rehabilitation of the property,” said HUD spokesperson Gina Rodriguez.

The city recertified the building’s residential permit earlier in August, McGrain said. This included a top-to-bottom inspection, he said.

Code enforcement has kept a close eye on the property and works closely with the owners of the building, McGrain said.

Inspectors have not cited Porter Senior Apartments for any code violations since February, according to city records. This quote was for the garbage.

“We are staying the course,” he said.

Contact reporter Krystal Nurse at (517) 267-1344 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @KrystalRNurse. Contact reporter Craig Lyons at 517-377-1047 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @craigalyons.

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