Nancy Edmonds Hanson
The 55-and-older apartment building planned by Churches United for the Homeless drew one step closer to the launch of construction Monday when the Moorhead City Council approved a two-year tax exemption for the project.
Since it was announced in 2020, Churches United has been working on putting together a “complicated financial package,” according to economic development program administrator Amy Thorpe.
The two-year exemption’s estimated value is $28,800. The total budget is $2.65 million. The 36-unit, three-story affordable housing development will include supportive services for individuals 55 years of age and older. Building amenities will include secured entrance, food pantry, central laundry on each floor, an elevator, community room with kitchen, exercise room, computer room, and space for a nurse and service provides.
Council members Shelly Dahlquist and Steve Lindaas questioned why the requested exemption was limited to two rather than the maximum four-year exemption allowed under Economic Development Authority guidelines for tax breaks for apartment construction. The answer, according to Thorpe, is that the full term is granted only to multi-unit residences with underground parking. She told the two councilors that those guidelines are soon to be reviewed and may be changed.
City attorney John Shockley noted that the decision on granting exemptions is a policy matter and thus ultimately under the control of the council. After discussing the advisability of a one-time exception versus a possible change during the EDA review, the board voted unanimously to grant the two-year exemption now, but consider extending it for an additional two years in the future. Thorpe pledged to revisit the term when the Economic Development Autority tackles its review in coming months.