Council Votes No on Edgewater Sale
Community Development Authority to retain ownership of 81- unit affordable senior living apartment complex.
By Brandi Makuski
The fate of Edgewater Manor remains with the city for the foreseeable future, as City Alderpersons Monday night turned down the proposed sale of the senior living property to a private owner.
Affordable Senior Housing (ASH) of Central Wisconsin offered $1.55 million for the property as well as an undisclosed donation to the “Youth of Stevens Point”. ASH is owned by Rhinelander City Attorney Phillip Parkinson and local general contractor Tom Ludwig.
The Community Development Authority (CDA) had previously tried to sell Edgewater to Seramur Family Limited Partnership, but that deal was highly scrutinized for being too secretive by residents and council members alike. The new deal with ASH was voted down after heavy opposition from residents of Edgewater.
Council members also said they were led to believe the property was losing money.
“Initially I was one of those that- my understanding was this building was in distress and it would cost taxpayer money to subsidize it,” said Alderman Jeremy Slowinski. “After looking at these numbers I’m surprised that if it were to stay with the city it would be self- sufficient.”
Slowsinski was referring to information supplied to the Council by the CDA which showed Edgewater was expected to turn a profit in 2014 of nearly $30k. That number would grow to just under $50k by 2033.
Those numbers are in contradiction to information given to council members and plan commissioners at the June Plan Commission meeting, where city leaders rallied hard for the sale. Mayor Andrew Halverson and CDA Director Michael Ostrowski outlining the challenges faced by the city should the building not be sold to a private entity and go on the tax rolls. Halverson told commissioners at that meeting keeping the building would be a “definite vulnerability” for a city the size of Stevens Point.
“The taxpayers could borrow roughly $2 million and invest in the renovations of that building, and for the first five years have a loss, but for the remaining years thereafter have a positive margin in that building,” Halverson added during the June 3 meeting.
But CDA Director Michael Ostrowski told council members Monday night the building was primed to bring in roughly $120k in 2013. Any confusion over the conflicting information was not publicly questioned by council members.
Alderman Randy Stroik said keeping Edgewater, given the new information on profit, would be a positive thing for the city and its image.
“I think the city prides itself on being a trendsetter,” Stroik said. “I think the social justice we can give the citizens of Stevens Point, not just the people currently in Edgewater Manor but the people in 10, 20 years that will need Edgewater- that’s the social justice we can give. If we have money built into a plan we can invest to keep it current, legitimate and real, I think we need to be a trendsetter.”