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Housing group secures new loan

Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

For almost three years, Ed Brophy has looked outside his Deer Valley Drive residence as crews labored on a nearby affordable-housing project, watching them work as they missed deadline after deadline to finish.

Brophy said Thursday the delays have not really upset the neighborhood. After a June 2003 groundbreaking on the project, which the developers wanted to take six months to build, Brophy wants it finished, though.

"I just feel it’s long overdue. We need it. Let’s hope the prices don’t rise," Brophy said on Thursday night, after the Park City Council approved a $250,000 loan to Mountainlands Community Housing Trust for the project.

Mountainlands is building the project, known as the Line Condominiums, and needed the $250,000 for finishing work at the site, 555 Deer Valley Drive. The City Councilors unanimously approved the loan, which Mountainlands must repay within 120 days of the first draw on the money and carries a 5.5 percent interest rate.

"I don’t know what the alternatives are. I would have to say ‘Yes,’" Brophy said about his support for the loan.

The $250,000 follows 1 1/2 years after the city loaned Mountainlands $100,000 for the project but the group was unable to pay the initial money back on schedule. As a condition of the new loan, City Hall secured the initial $100,000 and the subsequent sum against the property or other collateral, according to a report submitted to the elected officials before the vote. The original loan is due in 2011.

The government required that the Building Department and an independent party approve the disbursement of the loan to Mountainlands and that checks be written to a subcontractor or supplier.

"They’re as interested in getting it done as we were," said Scott Loomis, the executive director of Mountainlands, after the vote.

Loomis said Mountainlands hopes that people move in to some of the units by the end of May and all the units are occupied by the end of June.

A breakdown of the work that the $250,000 will fund submitted to the City Council before the vote shows that a firm known as Elite Custom Exteriors is owed $93,251, the largest sum. Money is owed for a range of work, including cabinets and countertops, drywall, landscaping and a playground and electrical wiring.

According to the breakdown, Mountainlands plans to draw about two-thirds of the loan on May 10 and the remainder a month later.

City Hall officials toured the property on Thursday.

In an interview after the vote, City Councilman Roger Harlan said the elected officials were in "an awkward and difficult position" regarding the loan. He said, last week, when the City Council delayed a decision about the loan, he was prepared to cast a ‘Nay’ vote.

He reconsidered in the intervening week, calling the new loan, "the best of not very good options." He said the site is a smart choice for an affordable-housing development, though.

"Once people live there and there’s landscaping and it’s finished, then the 18 months of perpetual construction will become a faint memory," Harlan said.

Mountainlands originally forecast that construction would cost $2.3 million but that figure has bulged to about $3.1 million. Prices for the 22 units have soared as well, now set at between $99,000 and $194,000, up from the original prices of between $60,000 and $130,000.

The Line Condominiums entail 22 units, 10 one-bedrooms, 10 two-bedrooms and two renovated historic houses.


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