A company proposing to build student housing near the Columbus Municipal Airport has paid the city six months of lease payments and late fees.
Airport director Brian Payne said Iowa-based company Bluffstone LLC sent the airport a check for all the late rent and late fees this week for the proposed Villas of
Bluffstone owed the airport about $7,327, which includes six months of rent and 15 percent interest in late fees, according to the terms of the lease.
Airport officials had notified the developer about the lack of receipt of payment in March and April, said Caleb Tennis, president of the Board of Aviation Commissioners.
Shortly after the May 13 board meeting, Payne drafted a notice to Bluffstone saying the delinquent rent was due immediately and failure to pay could result in a termination of the lease.
Commissioners signed a lease with Bluffstone in December 2013, which went into effect Jan. 1. The company had not made any of the lease payments until sending the check this week, Payne said.
Bluffstone is proposing to build a $5 million two-story apartment building on the southwest corner of Ray Boll Boulevard and Poshard Drive. The apartments would be leased to more than 100 students from IUPUC, Ivy Tech Community College, Harrison College and Purdue College of Technology.
Construction had been delayed until this fall, with Bluffstone officials saying the rough winter weather pushed the construction plans back.
Kelly Young, director of student housing operation for Bluffstone, which contracted to build the Villas at Columbus, told airport officials this month the student housing project doesn’t have construction financing yet.
One factor holding up the financing is that moving back the proposed construction date has caused banks to view the lease as a 49-year lease rather than a 50-year lease, Tennis said.
“The board chose to tread carefully with the new developer, particularly in light of process-induced delayed construction schedules, to keep a project that is so valuable to the community moving forward. The board has such discretion and acted in the best interest of the city,” he said.
Bluffstone has asked the board to add another year to make it a 50-year lease, which is more appealing to banks that could be willing to finance the project, Payne said.
Now that Bluffstone has paid what it owed, Payne said he anticipates the board will extend the lease to the 50-year version at its June 17 meeting.
If the Villas receives financing and begin construction this fall, the apartments could be open to students by next summer, Young said.