LANSING, Mich. — The new owners of the Porter Apartments, a low-income apartment building near downtown Lansing, have asked the city for a payment in lieu of taxes arrangement so that they can complete extensive renovations on the building.
In the past, residents have complained about bed bugs, rats, and violence at the location.
Redwood Housing is the new owner, and now, they’re asking to pay 4 percent of what they bring in from rent, minus the cost of utilities, to save money for a $9 million renovation plan.
Redwood estimates that they would be paying the city around $47,000 a year, tens of thousands of dollars less than what they would likely pay without the tax break. Redwood did not respond to requests for comment.
Councilwoman Patrcia Spitzley said she's concerned that she hasn't seen much improvement in the building since Redwood took ownership in the spring.
“It makes it hard to agree to give them this 4 percent PILOT for 40 years when they’ve had the building for months and they have not implemented some of the critical repairs that are needed,” Spitzley said. “The elevators aren’t fixed and there’s a trash shoot that is clogged.”
Spitzley said the former owner of the Porter Apartments failed to make living conditions better for residents after setting up a payment in lieu of taxes arrangement.
“They already had a payment in lieu of taxes for the last 25 years and they wanted another PILOT and that was voted down on City Council, based on their history, and their history of not taking care of the facility,” Spitzley said. “So, they sold the building and they sold it to a new entity that took ownership back in May.”
But at least one resident says things have improved.
“The old people didn’t do a lot about it, but the new people are,” said resident Salias Nichols. “I haven’t seen any rats or bugs since they bought it this year.”
Nichols has been living at the Porter Apartments complex for a year now, and, he said, since Redwood bought the location, he has noticed a change in living conditions.
He said he believes the owner and new management, KMG Prestige, are working slowly but surely to make things better for residents like himself.
“The old bug guy the old people had didn’t do that good of a job, but these people now are doing a much better job.”
KMG Prestige. KMG said they’re working as hard as possible to make living conditions better for residents.
The council is expected to vote on the payment in lieu of taxes agreement on Sept. 13.