The city of Sandy is in the middle of negotiations with Northwest Housing Alternatives (NHA) to sell nearly five acres of city land so NHA can develop the land into multi-family affordable housing.
The property is located immediately south of Sunset Street at the south end of University Avenue - formerly the location of city maintenance shops.
Initially, the city had planned to enter into a partnership with NHA, in which the city would continue to own the land for a specified period and share in some of the rent revenue.
But NHA has discovered their financing arrangements work better if they simply buy the land for cash.
City Manager Scott Lazenby told the City Council at a recent meeting that an outright sale is preferable to the city.
'The negotiations have gone well,' Lazenby said, 'and NHA is well into the process of securing financing for the project.'
The sales agreement states that the city must provide a clean site, which is a normal expectation. But it also allows the city to influence the design and management of the project, which is not usually in a sales agreement.
'(Planning Director) Tracy Brown, (Associate Planner) Kelly O'Neill, and (City Architect) Ralph Tahran have worked closely with NHA staff on the design of the project,' Lazenby said, 'and we are very pleased with the results.'
Among the opportunities the site offers, Lazenby told the council, include the creek as an amenity, a common play and gathering area for residents, a path connection to the small park at the top of the hill, parking on the edges of the development with units oriented to the common area.
The land has been appraised for $11,500 per housing unit, Lazenby said.
'The variable is how many units they would get on it,' he said, 'so that's what we're going to talk about.'
Since the design is not complete, NHA doesn't know exactly how many units it will have in the complex, but initially the managers have been discussing a range of 56-80 units - depending on the number of bedrooms in each unit. The lesser number (56) would include some three-bedroom units, Lazenby said.
A meeting Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 14, between officials of NHA and the city of Sandy should assist in determining the number of units.
The agreement states NHA will not pay less than the appraised value. But the city also has the right of refusal if the price offered is deemed too low.
The project's timeline has the city removing all buildings and cleaning the site with any necessary soil remediation by the end of this year. NHA would then purchase the land by June 1, 2013.