Thursday, February 07, 2002

ReStoc, city work on revised agreement

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A deal brokered by Councilman David Pepper has kept ReStoc's plans for a 30-unit low-income housing project on Vine Street alive — at least for a week.

        Cincinnati City Council delayed a vote Wednesday that almost certainly would have resulted in the city backing out of a $770,000 contract with the Over-the-Rhine housing group.

        The delay will give the city and ReStoc time to hammer out a new agreement.

        Mr. Pepper, a freshman Democrat, was the lead vote on City Council to nullify the contract with ReStoc on Monday. And while he argued the contract wasn't legal, he said there are “consequences to not moving forward.”

        A November 2000 agreement called for the city to give ReStoc $770,000 toward the rehabilitation of seven vacant buildings on Vine Street. The remainder of the $4 million project would come from federal housing tax credits.

        But the ordinance authorizing that payment expired after six months.

        Mr. Pepper said he hopes that another week of negotiations will require ReStoc to:

        • Divest itself of any vacant buildings on Vine Street that are not part of the Vine Street Project.

        • Convert at least eight of its properties into owner-occupied units within 18 months.

        • Reinvest money from those sales into improving its current building stock.

        • Agree not to purchase any more buildings in Over-the-Rhine, except to complement its holdings through green space or parking.

        Representatives of the Race Street Tenant Organization Cooperative declined to say whether they would agree to any of those terms.


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