NEW ALBANY —
The city is still working with legal counsel to gain “clear title” to the Linden Meadows property, said David Duggins, New Albany director of redevelopment and economic development.
In one of the latest developments in a confusing and lengthy history, the city confirmed in May that PNC Bank had ceded its interests in the defunct subdivision, which had consisted of houses that were moved following the expansion of Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services.
The New Albany-Floyd County Community Housing and Development Organization, or CHDO, defaulted on a $1.1 million loan owed to PNC for the property in 2009.
Due in part to the CHDO’s financial situation and the condition of the houses in Linden Meadows, the state halted the development of the subdivision following the default on the bank note.
The loan and funds from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, or IHCDA, footed the bulk of the construction costs and expenses associated with the project.
The city did contribute property for Linden Meadows.
After the CHDO filed for bankruptcy, the state and city attempted to broker a deal for a new developer to take over the project; however, the money owed to PNC Bank hampered the effort.
Without any progress being made to redevelop Linden Meadows, and with the houses falling further into disrepair, Mayor Jeff Gahan ordered the demolition of 16 of the houses in the development last year.
With the properties condemned by the city and the houses razed, PNC relinquished its interest in Linden Meadows.
The city is waiting for liens that are held on the subdivision to be released so that clear title can be gained on the property, Duggins said recently.
“The liens are not significant and we expect them to be released soon,” Duggins said.
The city did have to pay back $89,000 to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, this year for federal funds that were used in the project.
According to John Hall, field office director for the Indianapolis HUD bureau, $164,000 of federal Community Development Block Grant funds were earmarked for the rehabilitation of seven of the Linden Meadows houses.
Three of the houses were completed for a total of $74,550. The city repaid $89,459 in CDBG funds for the four houses that weren’t refurbished, Hall said.
“We were made aware that due to the issues and delays the project faced, that demolition of the properties may be necessary,” Hall said recently. “As that is a local decision, we would continue to work through any issues related to our funding when [or] if that happened.”
According to Duggins, about $35,000 of those CDBG funds that were paid back were reallocated to the city this year.
“The remaining $54,000 will be added into the sale price of the development,” Duggins said.
HUD no longer has an ownership interest in Linden Meadows since the CDBG funds have been repaid, Hall said.
While Duggins referenced the $54,000 CDBG cost would be added to the sale of the development, he didn’t specify what the future of the property will be.
“When a clear title is accomplished, the redevelopment commission will determine the process and goals for the development,” Duggins said.
The property was a park before the homes were moved there. Though CDBG funds had to be repaid and a definite reuse of the property hasn’t been determined, Duggins said the decision to raze the houses at Linden Meadows was the right choice.
“While the city was a partner in the original plan, the development stagnated and eventually failed,” Duggins said. “The homes became a blight on the surrounding neighborhood and posed significant safety concerns.”