The city's longstanding dispute with a developer over senior center build-out costs and condo fees may be settled through arbitration, according to a resolution up for passage at Monday's council meeting.
The meeting is 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.
Corporation Counsel Vernita Sias-Hill has recommended the action and the resolution will authorize her office to proceed to arbitration.
The issue dates back to 2010, when the city received a bill for nearly $300,000 from Dornoch, the developer that built a new senior center and veterans' center with three floors of condos above. The deal had been touted as costing the city nothing, but in fact both centers have condo status, meaning they must share in common expenses for the building.
The developer had also fitted out the senior center to the liking of members and wanted the city to pay for the work and furnishings. Dornoch claimed the center's condo fee was $2,750 per month starting from November 2009. The veterans' center has yet to be occupied, but was also going to be assessed a monthly fee once the city took ownership. Part of the dispute centered on how the monthly fee was calculated
The condo deal was first announced in 2006. It became a campaign promise of then-Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs when she sought a second term on 2009. She held an event there just before the June 2009 primary, but the center did not open until late in 2009. The residential condos were slow to sell, and the development, dubbed "The Monarch," began accepting rentals some time after the City Council denied a proposed tax abatement.
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