FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The first tenants have moved into a newly-renovated apartment complex at the center of a bitter dispute between a private business owner and the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.
AHFC had moved to destroy 15 low-income housing units in 1998 when Construction company owner Jerry Timmons said the units could be salvaged. He sold them intact to an Anchorage developer, Hugh Ashlock.
Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Richard Savell, however, ruled against Timmons, saying he breached his contract, and the units were returned to AHFC.
The housing corporation then sold 14 units to Ashlock, who moved half of them to South Fairbanks and the rest to the city's Kent Court section.
The Alaska Supreme Court is now mulling a decision whether to nullify Savell's decision and send the case back for a trial.
Neighbors of the Kent Court complex, which was completed last month, complained when the units started arriving last summer. Residents feared that the apartments would drive down property values because of their former low-income status. Some homes in the area are appraised at over $200,000.
Ashlock promised the units would be repainted with trim or given new siding, and the lots would be landscaped. The rentals would not be low-income housing, he said.
Timmons manages the apartments for Ashlock. His company also did the renovations.
Timmons also is remodeling Ashlock's south Fairbanks apartments, which have attracted a long list of interested renters, said Estelle Blalock, who handles the rentals.
Blalock said she rented all of the Kent Court apartments the first week they were advertised in late September. Tenants signed a one-year lease. The units have two, three, four and five bedrooms, and rent from $850 to $1350 per month, she said.
Bernie and Toby Hall, who live next door to the complex, said the finished project isn't as horrible as they imagined it would be.
''They're not as ugly to look at,'' Bernie Hall told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. ''A nice-size fence would help.''
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