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Covington's City Heights Eyed for Possible Sale, Relocation of Residents

 

The Housing Authority of Covington (HAC) is closer to selling the City Heights housing complex.

Citing what the agency called "insurmountable critical renovation costs estimated at over $84 million", the plan is to vacate the premises, relocate residents, and sell the the 70-year old, 63-building complex.

HAC's board of directors voted 4-0 to adopt a resolution authorizing Executive Director Steve Arlinghaus to submit a Section 18 application to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). If accepted by the federal government, HAC would begin relocating residents in a phased plan by issuing vouchers to ten households per month.

"No family will be left homeless," Arlinghaus said. “We will make sure of that." 

Residents will receive support in relocation through specialists, moving services, and other financial assistance, HAC said. 

The full relocation effort is expected to take three years or more, an announcement said.

The City of Covington will be asked by HAC to apply to HUD for up to 350 Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPV), through its Housing Choice Voucher program (previously known as Section 8).

The board's vote to begin searching for a buyer of the property began in November 2019, when a physical needs assessment was conducting, showing a need for tens of millions of dollars in repairs.

The assessment found numerous problems with fundamental “systems of the complex - including cracked foundations, deteriorating sanitary sewage lines, undersized electrical systems, and failing gas and heating pipes - and estimated that it would cost almost $51 million to fix those problems the first three years."

The assessment estimated it would cost over $84 million in total to also modernize the apartments and fix design deficiencies related to kitchen, laundry, and pantry sizes and setups. City Heights “is not marketable for current housing needs," it concluded. 

 

Once vacated, HAC will place the property up for sale.

A recent appraisal by Schoepf and Associates of Fort Thomas placed the net value at $6.04 million.

City Heights, formerly known as Ida Spence, was developed in 1953 and consists of 366 units with approximately 1,000 residents in 63 buildings. It sits on the southern end of Benton Road, accessible via Highland Avenue, at the top of a hill in a remote location. 

-Staff report

Photo: City Heights entrance (RCN file)

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