Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mount Auburn CDC seeks preferred developer status for vacant property

The Mount Auburn Good Housing Foundation (MAGHF), established in 1968 as Cincinnati's first community development corporation, is ramping up its efforts to improve its neighborhood's housing stock.

City administration is recommending that they City enter into a preferred development agreement with MAGHF for a parcel of City-owned property at 2319 Reading Road.

The parcel, vacant since a building on the site was demolished in late 1999, is seen as key to the development of between 10 and 20 affordable housing units, an undetermined amount of retail, and new offices for MAGHF.

Freeman McNeal, director of development for MAGHF, has been working with the City's Department of Community Development since last August to gain control of the City-owned property, valued at approximately $15,300. MAGHF has offered $1 for the parcel.

But to acquire the property, MAGHF would be required to submit a full budget and development plan.

MAGHF has claimed that creating that plan would cause a hardship for the non-profit. And several lending institutions, including Cincinnati Development Fund, have told MAGHF that discussing financing – including financing that could help develop a plan – without site control would be premature.

According to McNeal, MAGHF would be able to complete a development plan and begin work on acquiring additional parcels if named as preferred developer.

An ordinance designating MAGHF as preferred developer is not yet on City Council's agenda.