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City to sell properties, renovate home

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 21, 2016

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Continuing its program of renovating houses seized for back taxes, City Council approved a contractor to make renovations at a house it acquired in 2015.

The city is renovating a home on Edgewater that is the last of the 2015 tax foreclosure homes to be worked on. Bathroom and kitchen renovations are needed, including moving a bearing wall over a beam to fix the leaking bathtub and a depression in the floor of the bathroom, and updating electrical panels. The low bidder, Dennis Building Company, bid $71,103 for the work.

Community Development and Inspection Director Chris Rayes said that the company has performed work for St. Clair Shores before. 

Councilman Ron Frederick asked why there was a $10,000 difference in mechanical and plumbing prices between the two companies.

“Is this being made up in different parts?” he asked.

But Rayes said companies often bid vastly different amounts for different parts of a project and said that the other bidder’s price for plumbing and mechanical seemed high.

“We’re not replacing the plumbing itself, so I don’t expect it to be a $12,000 job,” he said. 

The bid was awarded by a vote of 6-1, with Councilwoman Candice Rusie opposed.

City Council also voted to approve the sale of a piece of property on Maple, which was part of the $1 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. The parcel had been in the city’s inventory for a long time, Rayes said, because “it’s hard to find a qualified family to build a home.”

“We contacted HUD and asked them to remove the restriction in the income levels,” he said. 

The Housing and Urban Development Authority agreed, he said, as long as the money earned by the city from the sale, minus the real estate agent’s commission, is put back into the $1 HUD account to be used for qualifying projects in the future. 

The new buyer put in an offer of $15,000 for the property and submitted plans to the city for the home. 

Money in the $1 HUD program has been used for park improvements and is also being dedicated toward a proposed skate park in the city.

The city also approved the sale of a property on Robeson. Rayes said that the home on the property, which was torn down in the early 2000s, was the former residence of Debbie Mathers, the mother of rapper Eminem. 

“We tried selling the bricks back then from the house, but we didn’t get any takers back then,” Rayes said. 

A builder constructing a new home across the street bid $14,000 for the parcel to construct another new home in the city, he said. Rayes said the property was the last parcel in the inventory of tax foreclosures.

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