Work at Madison Court Apartments includes paint, carpets, sprinklers
SHAMOKIN - Since acquiring Center City Apartments, Shamokin Housing Authority (SHA) workers have been busy the past couple of weeks learning all they can about the building and its operation.
During the authority's board meeting Thursday night, executive director Ronald Miller gave an update on the conversion of the former James Madison Hotel, at 614 N. Shamokin St., acquired by SHA on Dec. 31 to settle the mortgage debt of Red Gold Enterprises, Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in September 2012.
Miller said that since the beginning of the year, SHA employees have been inspecting the 34-unit apartment building, while officials are reviewing leases and rent payments.
"The building is in good shape." Miller said. "There will be aesthetic work to do, like new carpeting and painting. We do have a problem with the security deposits not matching up with what the tenants say they paid, so an accountant will review that."
Dumpsters have been brought in and fire and general liability insurance on the building has been written. Workers will review the security and sprinkler systems in the coming weeks.
"When we have our February meeting, we will have a better idea what we need to do," Miller said.
Once everything is in place, SHA will meet with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to discuss the future of the building and see if any grants are available for remodeling.
To start fresh, board members voted 5-0 to change the building's name to Madison Court Apartments, a nod to its former identity.
One thing that concerned authority members was notice of a $6,000 unpaid bill owed to Shamokin-Coal Township Joint Sewer Authority. SHA solicitor Frank Garrigan said the authority shouldn't be concerned.
"When we received the order of the bankruptcy court giving us the property, it was done free and clear of all liens and debts. So the judge wiped out that bill," Garrigan said.
Madison Court Apartments could help the authority solve problems at other properties as well. Last month, the authority posted a policy informing residents of the Harold E. Thomas High Rise that the high rise is becoming smoke-free. According to Miller, six residents are smokers who don't want to live in a smoke-free building.
If the residents and authority members agree, those tenants could move to Madison Court, a smoking facility.
"This would also give us vacancies at the high rise, where we currently have a waiting list to get in," Miller said.
Miller said because Madison Court is now under SHA ownership, it is now property-tax exempt.
In other business
The board reorganized, and Raymond G. Splane was reappointed as chairman of the authority's executive board on a nomination by James Picarelli, which was seconded by Robert J. Wolfe. Picarelli, Wolfe, Splane, and members Pamala S. Rhoades and Suzanne Kopitsky voted yes.
Kopitsky was named vice-chairman of the board on a 5-0 vote. She takes over for Rhoades, who held the position for the past year.