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Local News

Joliet releases potential price of Evergreen Terrace takeover

Financing plan still needs to be filled in

A view of the Evergreen Terrace housing complex Sept. 30, 2011, in the 300 block of North Broadway Street in Joliet.
A view of the Evergreen Terrace housing complex Sept. 30, 2011, in the 300 block of North Broadway Street in Joliet.

JOLIET – The city of Joliet could pay anywhere from $13.7 to $23.5 million for the Evergreen Terrace housing complex, according to appraisals filed in federal court.

The city in September won a condemnation lawsuit to take over the privately owned and federally subsidized housing complex for low-income residents. The city is preparing to negotiate the price it will pay to the current owners.

That final price may determine whether the city can pay for Evergreen Terrace with revenue from the property or if it will have to dip into other funds.

“No,” City Manager Jim Hock said when asked if he knew now if there is enough revenue from Evergreen Terrace to pay off the bonds the city would issue to acquire the property.

Evergreen Terrace generates $4.5 million a year in revenue, Hock said. But, he added, “I don’t know what the cost of the property is going to be. I don’t know what the operational costs are going to be. I don’t know what the bonded indebtedness is going to be.”

Joliet submitted Friday to federal court two appraisals: One at $13.76 million and the other $14.3 million, according to a city of Joliet news release issued Tuesday. Evergreen Terrace owners submitted an appraisal of $23.52 million.

Hock said the city will approach the owners to begin negotiating a possible settlement to avoid going to trial – scheduled for March 10 – where a jury would set the price.

There is division on the City Council as to whether Joliet should proceed with the takeover, which was targeted for condemnation in 2005 because of crime and conditions at Evergreen Terrace.

Councilman Bob O’Dekirk, who is running for mayor in the April 7 election, said a final price is likely to be somewhere in the middle of the appraisals. But, he added, “There is no plan. There is nothing firm in place that says, ‘If we’re going to spend $18 million, this is what we’re going to do.’ ”

Mayor Tom Giarrante, who was on the council when it voted to pursue condemnation and continues to support the takeover, said the city has hired Holsten Real Estate Development Corp. to prepare for the acquisition.

“We’re meeting with the company,” Giarrante said. “They came in to explain to everybody what our options would be.”

Giarrante said the city has identified Evergreen Terrace as a high-crime area and said problems there would continue if the city does not gain control.

Giarrante is running for re-election. The third mayoral candidate is Andy Mihelich, who also has previously expressed support of taking over Evergreen Terrace.

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