The apartment complex on Cherry Street still doesn’t have a permanent foundation and the owners, Homeward Bound, might get a deadline extension on their loan from the city due to a lack of funding. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

The apartment complex on Cherry Street still doesn’t have a permanent foundation and the owners, Homeward Bound, might get a deadline extension on their loan from the city due to a lack of funding. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Apartment project: Port Townsend City Council to consider loan payment extension

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend City Council tonight will consider approving a payment extension for Homeward Bound on a $250,000 loan from the city which funded the purchase and transportation of an apartment building six months ago.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today in council chambers at Historic City Hall, 540 Water St.

The four-unit apartment building has been sitting on top of wooden and metal beams on a lot near the corner of Cherry and Van Ness streets since it was floated on a barge across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Victoria in May.

The loan was scheduled to be repaid in full by Dec. 26 but City Manager David Timmons has recommended that deadline be extended by a year to Dec. 26, 2018, because Homeward Bound has not secured commercial funding for the project.

The loan was approved by the city council in late April with a unanimous vote of 6-0. Councilwoman Catherine Robinson was absent during the vote.

It was meant to cover the cost of purchasing and transporting the two-story apartment complex from Victoria to Port Townsend in May, which cost an estimated $210,000, according to the most recent estimates from Homeward Bound which were given in an interview in March after the building was trucked through Port Townsend.

The apartment building was brought in to create at least four new affordable housing units. Homeward Bound hoped to renovate the apartments and rent them for no more than $900 per month, plus utilities.

Homeward Bound board members did not respond Friday or Saturday to calls asking for more recent cost estimates or questions as to why the project has struggled to get funding.

Last month, the Jefferson County GOP filed a complaint against the city, citing safety complaints because the complex has yet to be set on a permanent foundation.

The complaint, filed by GOP communications manager Jim Scarantino, alleged that the project cost is up to $1.6 million. However Timmons said in October the cost was likely closer to $715,000.

Homeward Bound, formerly known as the Olympic Housing Trust, is a nonprofit that has been working in Jefferson and Clallam counties since 2005.

Since taking on the Cherry Street project, the organization has been working to reorganize and re-brand. It elected a new 12-person board in early October after the former board had dwindled to just one person.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.