A blight study at the heart of Kansas City’s effort to condemn the Bainbridge Apartments, a low-income housing development at 900 E. Armour Blvd., may be dropped this Friday by a development agency.
The board of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority, which commissioned the study on behalf of the city, is being asked to withdraw the report, which concluded that Bainbridge and other buildings on Armour operated by Eagle Point Cos. of Maine were a “social liability.”
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Expansion authority officials could not be reached for comment.
But in a statement, Eagle Point officials said they had a productive meeting with city officials last week and welcomed the proposal to withdraw the condemnation effort.
“We are pleased the city recognizes the need to resolve this issue cooperatively and constructively,” said CEO Laura Burns.
City officials maintain that Eagle Point has done a poor job managing Bainbridge and two other nearby buildings, the Georgian Court, 400 E. Armour, and Linda Vista, 1301 E. Armour, and that they have been a source of neighborhood crime problems. The buildings are used to provide housing through the federal low-income Section 8 program.
The blight study would have paved the way for the city to end Eagle Point’s management through eminent domain.
The study, however, has been criticized by Eagle Point for its methodology and fairness.
The blight study was prepared for the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority by Sterrett Urban LLC and was largely based on police crime reports and interviews with neighbors in the nearby Hyde Park neighborhood and other market-rate apartments along Armour Boulevard. It concluded that the Bainbridge, Georgian Court and Linda Vista apartments were “hot spots” for crime.
But Eagle Point officials say their buildings were targeted as part of a longstanding effort by some city officials and neighborhood residents to end their use for Section 8 housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers the program, also has criticized the blight study.
The study indicated that after a brief spike in crime shortly after Eagle Point began operating the buildings in 2008, it had dropped significantly in recent years. Eagle Point spent $57 million to renovate the historic properties.