Good housing intentions go bad in Hillsdale
The good idea is creating new affordable and public housing in Hillsdale. The agency is applying to the feds to get about half the money needed to build it.
Here’s where the idea goes of the tracks. The agency wants the public housing, a "new" Hillsdale Terrace, in the same, obscure, hard-to-access gully where the old, smaller and decaying Hillsdale Terrace is now.
Why there? The project manager says the site is so bad that the Housing Authority can’t sell it.
I've suggested in The Hillsdale News that the highest and best use for the old real estate might be as a city-owned dog run. A swap with the parks bureau, which has assigned Hillsdale Park to the dogs, offers an obvious solution. Build the new housing in the park, which is behind Robert Gray Middle School, and direct the dogs and their owners to a new "Hillsdale Gulch" park.
Right now, a new complex on the existing site is estimated to cost $44.5 million for roughly 120 apartment units. I assume the cost estimate includes housing the present tenants of 63 units elsewhere for 18 months while their old, moldy, crumbling home is being demolished and replaced by one nearly twice as large.
If my calculator doesn't fail me, this approach will cost $367,000 per new apartment unit.
In this depressed real estate market, you could buy a pretty attractive house and lot for that.
Meanwhile the new high-rise South Waterfront properties have plenty of vacant apartments begging for buyers at that price.
Alas, at this point, a November 17 federal grant application deadline and bureaucratic myopia are driving the project.
Still, there's still a chance to put forward reasonable and more affordable alternatives.
HAP is holding a meeting on the project next Tuesday, August 18, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hillsdale Terrace community room. That’s at 6775 SW 26th. The entrance is across the street from the Mittleman Jewish Community Center.
Once you are down in the gully, you will see why the place has great promise as a dog run. The Hillsdale Terrace complex is to the right.