City seizes apartments, plans affordable housing

April 11, 2014
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The City is seizing a six-unit apartment building on Montebello Road for back taxes and will likely turn it into affordable housing, the Gazette has learned.

The long-vacant building at 52 Montebello Road is in the midst of being seized by the City for over $250,000 in unpaid taxes. Four units have already been claimed by the City and the last two units are also undergoing court proceedings, according to Sheila Dillon, the City’s chief of housing and director of the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) Sheila Dillon.

“The City will control the building in the very near future,” she told the Gazette.

The plan is to “create workforce housing there,” Dillon said. That means affordable or low-income housing.

“JP is getting so expensive. This would be an opportunity to create housing that’s affordable to sell or rent,” Dillon said. “We want to work with the community, to define what that means.”

While there is no timeframe for any community meetings yet.

“Tax taking is a very slow [legal] process that the City does not control,” Dillon said.

The property has been vacant for several years and drawn complaints for illicit parties and squatters. It has been on JP’s Problem Properties Committee list since mid-2012, when the City’s Inspectional Services Department boarded it up. According to the City’s Assessing Department website, each unit is valued for tax purposes at between $170,000 and $190,000.

52 Montebello Road. (Gazette File Photo by Rebeca Oliveira)

52 Montebello Road. (Gazette File Photo by Rebeca Oliveira)

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