Yesterday, the following notice appeared in the Register-Star.
It appears that the persistent complaints of Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) about the conditions in some of the apartments in Bliss Towers may have had an effect, but the vague heading "Miscellaneous Site Repairs at Columbia Apartments" makes it unclear exactly where the apartments to be repaired are located. Also, the nature of the repairs is not specified. It was hoped that some clarity might be forthcoming at the Hudson Housing Authority board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. last night, but that meeting was cancelled for lack of a quorum.
The perennial question with Bliss Towers--at least for the past ten years--is: Should the building be renovated, or should it be replaced? Four years ago, in 2010, it seemed that demolition and replacement was the favored course: replacing the 132 units in the nine-story high rise and the nearby "low rise" with 50 or 60 two-unit buildings constructed throughout the city as well as on the current site of Bliss Towers.
In August 2010, Jeff First, executive director of the Hudson Housing Authority, told the Common Council Legal Committee that the consensus of the HHA Board was to demolish Bliss Towers. He called the building a "money pit" and a "maintenance nightmare." At that time, he was asking the Legal Committee to introduce a resolution that would give HHA "site control" on a number of City-owned properties that HHA wanted for its new "scattered site" units. Site control was a requirement for a grant First was seeking from DHCR (Division of Housing and Community Renewal), and granting it would mean that the City would hold properties it owned and HHA wanted off the market until HHA could buy them for "something close to fair market value." The grant application in question was due in February 2011, but its fate is unknown.
The last Gossips recalls hearing about the plan to replace Bliss Towers with duplexes scattered throughout the city was a statement from Common Council president Don Moore, who said, if memory serves, that Omni Housing Development, the affordable housing development group that was going to undertake the project, had determined that the plan was not feasible because there were not enough potential building sites.
So now there is this request for bids. One wonders if it represents a change of heart about the future of Bliss Towers, or if it is just another investment in a building scorned as a "money pit"?
COPYRIGHT 2014 CAROLE OSTERINK