Dearborn Towers sold

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — City officials and residents don’t have to wonder any longer about how to unload a controversial city-owned apartment complex. The Dearborn Towers apartments in Clearwater, Fla. are sold.

For $6.251 million, Alchemy Management LLC., won the bid out of two other potential buyers on March 9.

City attorney Laurie Ellerbrake said Alchemy made a 10 percent down payment on March 20.

“They will pay the rest of the costs during the closing period in about 30 to 45 days,” she said.

A special City Council meeting was called March 13 to vote on accepting the offer. Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. and the Legal Department presented the offer to the Council and recommended the highest offer.

Councilman Bob Abraham said the council members voted unanimously to accept the offer and give the mayor the authority to sell property according to those requirements.

The 88-unit complex has been on the market since 2007 when Dearborn voters approved to sell the 52-year-old building. The building was appraised in 2008, 2009 and 2010, with an average selling price of nearly $6 million.

Some discussion on the apartments revolved around asbestos in the buildings, which previously stalled some of the city’s progress in selling the building. Ellerbrake said the new owners were given a copy of the asbestos report and if they decide to renovate or remodel the apartments, the asbestos may need to be dealt with.

The next step is to proceed with the title insurance and set a closing date.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed and moving forward,” Ellerbrake said.

Abraham said selling the apartments brought about mixed emotions.

“From the city’s perspective the financial impact is, of course, positive,” Abraham said. “However I think it also signifies to the residents how challenging the economic crisis really is to the city of Dearborn.”

He added it also signifies an end of an era. “Universally across the board we are forced to make cutbacks.”

The money from the building will go into the city’s general fund. The apartment funds have already been set aside earlier in the year.

“We had forecasted and budgeted for the sale of the Towers in the 2011-2012 fiscal year,” Abraham said. “That $6 million budget item was allocated to general fund operations.”

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)

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