South Rome Redevelopment Director Melissa Jones told the city’s Community Development Committee that she has already met with three potential developers and plans to meet with several more before choosing one to work with in a bid to get assistance from the Department of Community Affairs for the next round of housing improvements.
Jones said the South Rome group owns 39 properties across South Rome.
“As part of the tax credit application you can’t work with different developers, so right now we’re trying to find the best developer for our project,” Jones said. “We would be able to work on up to six different sites as long as we could put four units on each one of those sites.”
She said that each of the developers she’s already spoken with have expressed interest in different locations across South Rome.
Jones told the panel that a recent market survey indicated the need for multi-family units in South Rome, but the community does not necessarily want to see another large development like the 77-unit Etowah Terrace project.
Jones said she has self-scored several potential projects and has gotten higher scores than the highest project that received tax credit assistance from the state last year.
The Community Development Committee approved some revisions to the 2012 Community Home Investment Program Moderate Repair policies. One would loosen requirements related to requirements for worker’s compensation insurance, while another would allow the Community Development staff to move up applicants on the priority list in the event of emergency needs.
Moderate repair grants can be as much as $25,000, and the city already has a waiting list for projects across Rome.
Community Development Specialist Bekki Fox reported that after the city closes a revolving loan with Jay Shell at Broad Street’s Brewhouse for some $55,000, the city would still have more than $99,170 in its revolving loan fund available to small businesses in the city. The fund is not limited to downtown businesses, but that seems to be where most of the loans have been made.
Downtown Development Director Ann Arnold reported that Bob Blumberg at Johnny’s New York Style Pizza, 233 Broad St., and John Schroeder of Schroeder’s New Deli, 406 Broad St., have been elected as business representatives to the Business Improvement District Board of Directors and that BID would have its annual meeting on Jan. 17 at the Brewhouse.
Arnold said she is working with several business prospects for downtown and pointed out a couple of impending vacancies on Broad Street, at the Clotheshorse, 419 Broad St., and Lee’s Furniture, 206 Broad St.
“One wants to spend more time with a baby, and the others are ready to retire,” Arnold said.
Geri Cheeley, owner of the Clotheshorse, will be closing at the end of the month, while Lee and Sue Ellen Hampton at Lee’s Furniture will close as soon as their inventory is depleted.