Two houses are added on to housing project

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — Ten more houses will be added to the second phase of the city’s Neighborhood Stabilization Project.

City Council members reviewed purchase agreements for Vinewood Village Condominiums at their Monday meeting. The complex, which consists of two buildings with a total of 10 units, will cost the city $455,399 from its NSP2 funds, which come from U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and Michigan State Housing Development Authorities and were awarded in February.

The front building, which is closest to Vinewood Street, has four finished two-story units, each including an attached garage, full basement, one and a half bathrooms and energy-efficient appliances. The building just north of it has six units that must be completed prior to sale. The purchase comes two weeks after the city awarded a bid to rehabilitate one home and build two new ones to Pizzo Development.

The units did not find a buyer on the open market, and the city is saving about 40 percent on the asking price, councilors said.

“In total, these will be less expensive for us to build than the units we closed the bids on,” City Engineer Mark Kowalewski said.

He said construction can begin on the condos in about two months, as the plans must be changed to make the buildings wheelchair accessible. The city also will add about $3,000 in incidental updates to the finished units, he said.

Councilman Daniel Galeski disagreed with the purchases, citing concerns that the units would be difficult to sell and that the city would forfeit tax revenue it had received from the properties by buying them. “It’s like a last resort offered to us at a low price,” Galeski said. “I have a concern because we will lose a large amount of taxes.”

Kowalewski assured the council that the move would not cost tax dollars. The units currently are appraised at $100,000, and although buyers will qualify for a mortgage buy-down, they will pay the full amount of taxes, he said.

“The city will not lose taxes, we’ll remain whole,” Kowalewski said.

Mayor Joseph Peterson said the deal was a good idea for the city and a great addition to the city’s NSP2 housing program.

“I don’t see them sitting empty,” he said. “I think it’s a plus for the city. It’s a cheap price we’re getting these for.”

Councilwoman Sheri Sutherby Fricke said the project has the potential to create jobs and counteract declining property values caused by vacant houses. She also stressed that the project is based more on high credit scores than on low income. To qualify, a buyer must have a credit score of at least 630, she said.

“These homes will be sold to people with great credit who want to move into our community because of the great things we’re doing,” she said.

(Contact Andrea Poteet at