The Utica City Council in a 6-1 vote approved the sale of the Riverside 175 senior housing complex to a local real estate acquisitions firm.

The Utica City Council in a 6-1 vote approved the sale of the Riverside 175 senior housing complex to a local real estate acquisitions firm.

File photo by Deb Jacques

Utica awards bid for Riverside 175 to local firm

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 17, 2019


UTICA — The Utica City Council in a 6-1 vote approved the sale of the Riverside 175 senior housing complex to a local real estate acquisitions firm that was the high bidder at the June 13 council meeting.

The City Council had voted 4-3 to sell Riverside 175 March 12. Mayor Thom Dionne, Mayor Pro Tem Kenneth Sikora, and council members Gus Calandrino and Chuck Cuddington voted for the sale, while council members Brad O’Donnell, Perry Sylvester and Faith Terenzi voted against the sale.

After the March vote, three bids came in to buy the building April 30: one at $1 million from Louie F. Elias, in Rochester Hills; one at $2 million from Tony Dimambro, in Shelby Township; and another for $2,775,000 from Shamrock Acquisitions LLC, in Shelby Township. The contract was awarded for $2,775,000 to Shamrock Acquisitions LLC.

The city had the building, located at 7650 Greeley St., appraised in February; the appraisal valued it at $2.5 million.

In 1993, the building cost $2.76 million to construct. It currently has 54 units.

Shamrock Acquisitions LLC is a real estate acquisitions firm formed in 2008. The company acquires physically and financially distressed properties in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Florida and California.

The firm owns many locations in Macomb and Oakland counties.

In the proposal submitted to Utica, Shamrock had letters of reference from many previous sellers it has worked with to obtain properties in the past, including Shelby Township. Many stated that Shamrock is one of their preferred clients to work with and described smooth transitions with properties. Also, a few residents shared their thoughts about living at Shelby Manor, which Shelby Township sold to Shamrock in 2017, and all were positive.

In the proposal to Utica, Shamrock stated that the closing for the project would be expected within 60-75 days.

In the proposal, Ryan Houlihan, one of the owners of Shamrock, stated, “What matters most in this situation is the residents and making sure this transition is handled with the proper kindness and respect.

“I have been following this possible sale for over six months and have attended each of the meetings at the city regarding Riverside 175. I felt it was important to get an understanding of the residents’ thoughts and concerns. Needless to say, keeping the rents affordable was their biggest concern in each of those meetings, and we plan to do just that. Having already gone through this same process last year when my company purchased Shelby Manor Senior Apartments, I know what it takes to allow the residents to feel safe and secure.”

Houlihan also stated, “I am confident the residents will receive exceptional service from our experienced office staff, as well as daily visits from our maintenance staff that have over 15 years of experience working on the same style (of) buildings.”

The company said that it will work with the seniors to ensure a smooth transition and use the property as it is today while keeping it looking as good or better than it currently does. The company said that it will offer more services and continue to be a home for the Utica Pioneer Senior Club, and continue to offer the community room for the Meals on Wheels program.

Shamrock said that it plans to complete major repairs in 12-24 months, repairs such as replacing heating, ventilation and cooling units; completing exterior wood replacement and painting; replacing door walls; remodeling the interior common room; replacing latticework to the parking garage; adding more landscaping; and installing a new sign above the front doors.

City Councilman Perry Sylvester, who had initially voted against the sale, shared his thoughts on the new owner taking the building into its hands.

“My concern is what the buyer will go and do with the property. … I suspect that he will go ahead and do a good job. I noticed that he is committed to affordability. … One of the things that was difficult for us as a body with that facility — we never had any statement as to what affordability actually meant. It could still be affordable with rent going up,”  Sylvester said.

City Councilwoman Faith Terenzi said she changed her mind on being cautious of selling the building.

“We all know I voted no during the last meeting, but now I feel better after reading the letter from Ryan,” Terenzi said.

City Councilman Gus Calandrino also shared his feelings toward selling the building.

“After reading the Shamrock proposal, they really seemed interested and they seem to really care about our seniors, and they even took into consideration the Meals on Wheels memos from seniors from Shelby Manor. They also seem responsible and like they know what they are doing,” said Calandrino.

City Councilman Brad O’Donnell voted against the sale, which he described in an email as “a move likely to displace seniors.”

“I fought to include safeguards for the seniors and I was voted down,” O’Donnell stated in the email.

“The new owner seems genuinely committed to doing right by his new tenants,” O’Donnell stated. “Which is why I’m sure he would not have objected to these safeguards. Unfortunately, City Council didn’t give him that opportunity, and now the seniors have nothing in writing to protect them.”

For more information, call City Hall at (586) 739-1600.