published Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

CHA takes $200,000 less for Poss Homes land

The Chattanooga Housing Authority is taking $200,000 less than it expected for the property that once housed Maurice Poss Homes.

However, housing officials said they’re still glad to have a portion of the property sold.

“I’ll take a million and be happy,” said Chattanooga Housing Authority board Chairman Eddie Holmes.

CHA officials called a board meeting Monday after the appraisal price for the 10 acres, located between Interstate 24 and Howard School of Academics and Technology, came in at $960,000 instead of the original sale price of $1.2 million. CHA officials negotiated the sale price at $1 million.

And instead of selling the property to Landmark Asset Services Inc. as initially stated, housing officials sold the land to Vernon Place Investments LLC. CHA officials explained that Landmark Asset Services Inc. is the development entity for the property.

The former Maurice Poss Homes site has been an empty lot at least since May 2006, records show. The site once was home to about 500 people who lived in the 188 public housing units that stood there.

Landmark Asset has applied for a tax-credit application and, if it’s approved by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, the developer plans to build 86 units of affordable housing on the site, CHA officials said.

It will be August or September before word comes down on whether the tax credits are approved, officials said.

Last week, local civil rights leader James Mapp and Howard school supporter Gerald Mason expressed objection to the sale, saying the land would be better used as the place for a stadium and track for Howard or used for market-rate housing instead of being the site for low-income housing again.

Mapp, who started a 26-year lawsuit that led to the desegregation of local schools, said having better housing and facilities near Howard would attract more whites and help diversify the school.

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield, said he was happy to see the land being used.

“Affordable housing in the downtown area is something that we definitely need,” Beeland said Monday. “It’s a vacant lot right now, and it can be developed to be something better than that.”

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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