Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tower Park VA homes (finally) approved for development

One of the "Officers' Homes," located on Alexander Circle/FTM file

Officials have announced today that the city of Fort Thomas has received approval to purchase the VA homes on Alexander Circle in Tower Park.

City officials have been working to acquire the homes from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for nearly a decade.

The announcement came from Fort Thomas Renaissance Manager Debbie Buckley at the NKY Development Day summit, held in Covington on Thursday. Buckley also posted the news to Facebook, saying:

"It is my honor to announce that the city of Fort Thomas has received the final signature needed to obtain the Alexander Circle homes (officer homes) in Tower Park. They will be put out to bid about the middle of October. I am thrilled."

The final signature Buckley's referring to is that which completes the city's Memorandum of Agreement to purchase with the VA, City Administrator Don Martin told FTM in an email Thursday afternoon.

According to Martin, the city has been working to obtain this particular document for "several years" now, as the city and the VA worked through a laundry list of approval procedures.

Martin also explained that, after soliciting bids and selecting a developer, the city will be cleared to purchase the homes after the chosen developer removes the asbestos and lead paint left from the homes' original construction. The VA will then inspect the homes and, upon their passing inspection, hand them over to the city. The city will then immediately transfer the properties to the developer.

The city has also received another document approving the historic preservation guidelines laid out for the homes, which will remain in effect permanently and ensure the homes are both restored and maintained in historically accurate condition.

The next step for the city, Martin says, is to schedule a joint meeting with the VA, the Kentucky Heritage Council, the city attorney, the city engineer, and other city staff, to coordinate initiating the process of finding a developer.

"We fully expect the process to move at a much faster pace from this point forward," Martin said. "After muddling through nearly a decade of federal red tape, the light at the end of the tunnel suddenly looks much brighter for these important, historic homes."

2 comments:

  1. Years ago, the city building was maintaining a list of people's names, who were interested in purchasing one of those properties. My name was on that list. Does it still exist? If not, what is the procedure to express interest in purchasing one of them?
    Thank you,
    Ellen Faeth

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  2. I doubt it, Ellen. My city's next step is finding a developer to buy the homes. Even with the VA credit for asbestos and lead removal, the margins are going to be razor thin when it's all said and done. The developer would likely be interested in that list, but the city likely would not be concerned with selling to individual buyers.

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