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Houghton OKs rental rehab grants for downtown

HOUGHTON — The Houghton City Council approved agreements for about $960,000 in downtown rental rehabilitation through Michigan Economic Development Corp. grants Wednesday.

“In the grand scheme of things, we’re looking at nearly a million dollars of investment in our downtown,” said City Manager Eric Waara. “We’re going to end up with 11 or 12 very, very nice apartments downtown.”

The council approved deferred payment loan, mortgage, escrow and development agreements for three properties on Shelden Avenue:

* $416,700 for 308-310 Shelden Ave., by Rentcom, LLC. The agreement calls for renovating five apartments in the space under Downwind Sports and Rukkila-Negro Accounting, facing onto Lakeshore Drive. The property owner is contributing $188,195.

* $143,017 for 510 Shelden Ave., by CD Enterprises. That project will consist of renovating two apartments at the Lode building. The property owner is contributing $47,600.

* $405,856 for 515 Shelden Ave. by KZCB. Five apartments will be renovated at the Vinyl truth building. The property owner is contributing $135,571.

The deferred payment loan agreement gives the grant amount being received from MEDC. The mortgage is held by the city in the event the property owner does not comply with the grant requirements. The third agreement states that the owners’ contribution to the construction work goes into escrow so the city, which administers the grant, is able to pay the bills.

The development agreement, which states the terms of the development, is signed by the owner, developer and city.

More than half of the initial tenants must make 80% or less of the area’s median income. Also, the properties must stay rentals for at least five years.

Similar agreements were used for the 22 facade projects done in downtown several years ago, as well as the apartment project by Roy’s Pasties & Bakery, Waara said.

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