Nail-biter for Seniors in Tuscon Apartment Complex

Thanksgiving brought new hope to the senior citizens at the Coronado Hotel Apartments in downtown Tucson, Ariz.

Last week, it seemed like a sure thing that their pastel-pink building would be sold to a private investor and they would be forced to move within a year. Possible bidders included office and restaurant developers that would likely gut and redevelop the building they call home.But just before the holiday, Pima County officials announced a plan to potentially buy the building, in a deal that would allow the Coronado's seniors to stay in their apartments. The Coronado's owners have delayed the sale of the building, which had seemed imminent, until Dec. 10 to consider the county's offer, according to coverage in the Arizona Daily Star.

Built in 1928, the Coronado was renovated by a local nonprofit in 1991 to create 42 rental apartments affordable to low-income seniors. However, like many affordable housing projects, it was built without a clear plan to keep it affordable after the time ran out on its development agreements.

The Coronado was redeveloped with federal low-income housing tax credits. One investor, Boston Capital Corp., contributed over a million to the project and agreed to keep the Coronado affordable and well-run for 15 years in exchange for the tax credits and an ownership stake in the building.

Now that 15 years have past, Boston Capital has the right to sell. Fortunately, the asking price is relatively low - $670,000, or about $16,000 per apartment. That's far less than what it would cost the county to replace the Coronado by developing new affordable housing.

The county still has $1.5 million left in the affordable housing portion of its 2004 bond plan. "I think we can do something good with funds that were intended for that purpose anyway," County Supervisor Ramón Valadez told the Arizona Daily Star.
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