Andy Berke's Budget to Purchase Harriet Tubman Housing

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Updated: 8/02/2013 9:35 am
     Before the city can buy the 34 acres of the Harriet Tubman housing projects...they'll have to go through the Chattanooga Housing Authority.
     Vice President of Development Naveed Minhas says he's ready to sell.
       The site has been closed since 2012, and he says it costs them around $25,000 dollars a month to maintain.
        "The roof was getting bad, the infrastructure, the sewer system, the electrical system, just like any typical building it gets older with the time," said Minhas.
     But Mayor Berke doesn't want to renovate it, he wants to tear it down and create a place for new businesses to come to East Chattanooga.
        "The Chamber of Commerce is excited about having another large site available for economic recruitment.  But all of us here also know how the eventual use of this site will aid East Chattanooga in it's turnaround," Berke said to the council on Wednesday.
        According to Minhas, the city has some competition.
      Five other parties have shown interest in purchasing the site in prices ranging from $800,000 to $4,000,000.
     Mayor Berke says the budget sets aside a million dollars for the project but that most of that will go towards prepping for development.
     Minhas says their ultimate decision will be based what's best for Chattanooga.
      "I hope we can come to an agreement with any one of these who is the most cost effective and good for the community. That's very important," he said.
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