Whitehall City Council was expected this week to approve an appropriation of almost $11 million toward the anticipated costs of the city's acquisition of Woodcliff Condominiums.
Three ordinances appropriating different amounts of money were expected to be approved by emergency at council's Aug. 7 meeting, Mayor Kim Maggard said last week.
One ordinance appropriates $9 million -- nearly the amount for the agreed purchase of the 317-unit apartment complex at the northeast corner of North Hamilton Road and East Broad Street.
The others appropriate $1 million and $725,000, respectively, all through the issuance of bonds, for the costs associated with the acquisition, Maggard said.
"We expect a lot of expenses" connected to the purchase, Maggard said.
These include, she said, continuing legal expenses for owners challenging court-ordered disbursements and paying off parts of mortgages in some instances.
"Some people are upside-down on mortgages," owing more than the value of the property, Maggard said.
On June 26, City Council approved a purchase agreement with the Woodcliff Condominium Unit Owners Association, ending an 11-year battle in the Environmental Division of Franklin County Municipal Court against Woodcliff Condominiums concerning the city's complaints about conditions there.
Council's action followed that of the association on May 14 when its membership voted 172-77 to accept the city's offer to buy the property.
The agreement included court-ordered disbursements to be paid to the owners, but at least 56 different owners are disputing the amounts that are part of the $8.9 million purchase agreement.
Franklin County Municipal Judge Daniel Hawkins received the objections to the disbursements at a June 28 hearing, said Joe Durham, an attorney with Eastman and Smith, who has represented Whitehall in its action against Woodcliff Condominiums.
Maggard said the council-approved appropriations will be used as necessary to complete the acquisition of the property and that it is advantageous to the city to make separate appropriations.
"But it's all related to Woodcliff," she said.
Maggard said it is too soon to determine how the city will proceed with the redevelopment of the parcel.
Whitehall first filed a complaint against Woodcliff Condominiums on July 12, 2007 seeking injunctive relief and Feb. 4, 2008, an agreed entry declared the property a public nuisance.
City officials, while continuing to negotiate in court, said the property remained a source of code violations and generated a considerable number of calls for police service.
The city levied the same complaints about code violations and calls for police service against the owners of the nearby Commons at Royal Landing before the city and its New Jersey-based owners reached an agreement in 2016 for the city to purchase it for $5 million.
Construction is expected to begin later this year at the former Commons at Royal Landing on a $50 million mixed-use development by Continental Realty to be known as Norton Crossing.