Commentary – Unite to Save Hunting Towers

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IDI Group Cos. is currently proposing to save all 530 units at Hunting Towers as “affordable-workforce” condos in exchange for permission to demolish adjacent Hunting Terrace and build a 170 foot luxury condo building on-site.  

In order to obtain permission to do this, IDI must seek a special use permit from the City to build more than 50 feet (by-rights).

Unfortunately, lackluster negotiations by the City with the skilled negotiator, IDI, has yielded a scrawny affordable housing plan that desperately needs to be beefed up.  Among our problems with the affordable housing component of the IDI proposal:

(1) IDI has not committed to sell at affordable condo pricing.  They cater mostly to workforce residents (who make more than 60% Area median income- AMI), which will force some current residents to either leave or downgrade their current apartments.  The City’s housing survey of Towers residents reveals that one-third of current residents cannot afford anything priced more than 60% AMI. 

(2) IDI is not providing enough rental units.  IDI is proposing to sell (not give) 100 units to the City or a non-profit housing provider so they can provide rentals.  100 units pales in comparison to the nearly 1,000 units of rentals that once existed at the Towers-Terrace complex in 2001.  Also because IDI would be selling already refurbished units, a non-profit housing provider would not be able to leverage the many state and federal tax credits that could be used to subsidize the purchase price. 

(3) IDI does not currently own Hunting Towers. While we have heard that IDI is close to purchasing the property, we have heard this same refrain for the past two years.  If they are so close, why not wait a little longer to see if they can uphold their promises?   Unfortunately under the current proposal, IDI can opt out of saving the units at the Towers altogether by simply giving $20 million cash to the City’s Housing Trust Fund (if they get the extra height). 

(4) A proper cost-benefits analysis has not been completed.  To our knowledge, the City has no clear idea of the profit that IDI seeks to gain with their proposed 170 foot building at Hunting Terrace.

Michelle L’Heureux
Melissa Allen
Elizabeth Boniface
current and former residents at Hunting Towers and Hunting Terrace

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