Peoria council eyes battle over sale of apartment complex
Editor’s note: This story was revised on April 1 to correct a misspelling in Mark Slover’s name.
A California-based company’s proposal to buy an apartment complex in Peoria and turn it into affordable housing has raised concerns from neighbors, a headteacher and city officials.
Integrity Housing is looking to spend up to $65 million to buy the 304-unit complex at 2401 Alta Road.
But Mark Slover, who lives nearby, says there is no need to make changes to apartments which are already close to capacity, and worries whether current residents could be driven out, reducing property taxes paid.
And Dunlap School Board President Abby Humbles said the board, which has not taken a position on the sale, is trying to determine whether a nonprofit owner could affect hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue. land for the district.
Integrity Housing representatives did not return phone messages left this week, nor did the complex’s existing operator, NHS Property Management.
Members of the Peoria City Council will be asked on April 12 to approve the project.
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Will the sale have an impact on property taxes?
According to its IRS tax filings, Integrity Housing is a nonprofit corporation, which means that in the eyes of the federal government, it enjoys tax-exempt status. Humbles worries if local ownership gets the same status, it would take away revenue from the school district.
A review of county tax records shows that most of the 27 plots in the complex at 2401 Alta Road pay the Dunlap School District about $8,800 a year in property taxes, although one pays $61,000.
Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich said Integrity Housing can apply for tax-exempt status, but if it’s operated as a for-profit business, it won’t get it.
“You can be a charity, but if the rented property is operated for profit, it’s taxable and that’s one of the issues we’re trying to address,” Urich said. “We don’t want this to go forward if it’s going to have a really negative impact on schools.”
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Humbles said tax-exempt status is the district’s primary concern and “we haven’t gotten straight answers” on that.
“We need to know if they are completely tax exempt? Revenue is a big concern, we have a duty to be able to fund our schools,” Humbles said.
Humbles said she hadn’t gotten answers from city council members either, and said they were looking for the same information she was.
“Where is the information, give us the details, let’s be transparent,” Humbles said. “When city council members haven’t yet received this information but are already asking them to vote, that’s not fair to our city council members either.”
Council member Denis Cyr, whose 5th district includes Prairie Vista Apartments, is holding a public meeting on the purchase at 6 p.m. April 6 at Dunlap High School, 5220 Legion Hall Road.
The council has until April 18 to approve or reject the project. If the council votes to reject it, it would stop the bond issuance of a local economic development group.
What is the purpose of Integrity Housing?
Integrity Housing plans to buy Prairie Vista from NHS Property Management for $45 million and has requested up to $65 million in Tri-County Illinois River Valley Development Authority bonds for the purchase.
TRVDA executive director Warren Ribley said he didn’t expect the amount to be $65 million, but he thinks it will be closer to $55 million. But he said those numbers were “evolving”.
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Integrity Housing’s plan for Prairie Vista, which is to provide affordable housing using the bonds, at a rate where 20% of units are rented to families earning no more than 50% of the median income in the 34 $350 for a family of three, Urich says.
Half of the apartments are expected to be rented by families earning no more than 80% of median household income, which would amount to $54,950 for a family of three, Urich said.
All other units would be rented at regular rates, but Humbles fears Integrity Housing will increase its other rates to compensate for the reduced rates, excluding current residents of the complex.
Ribley said it’s not accurate to describe it as “subsidized” or “low-income” housing, but rather as “affordable” or “labour” housing.
“We just don’t see where there is a gain for the community”
Slover, the former president of the nearby Trails Edge Village Home Owners Association, said he sees no benefit in using government funds to support the purchase since the resort is already close to capacity.
Slover and Humbles said this sale only appears to benefit the seller and the buyer.
“We just don’t see where there is a gain for the community,” Slover said. “There are all kinds of inherent dangers in what’s happening with Prairie Vista.”
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According to a fact sheet distributed by the city, no current residents would be displaced and new residents eligible for affordable housing could move in as other residents leave.
Ribley said that because Integrity Housing would likely operate Prairie Visit as a for-profit business, he thinks their tax exemption request would likely be denied by the county and state.