Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners, the parent company of Graduate Hotels, is still hoping that the city will scrap the existing downtown cap on non-residential development, which presents another obstacle to its conversion plan.
On Oct. 26, the development company reached an agreement with residents that would allow them to stay in their apartments until June 16. The stay, however, was contingent on the council removing both the downtown cap and the "grandfather facilities" clause by Dec. 18.
City officials had initially signaled their willingness to negotiate by scheduling discussions of both items for Dec. 3, but with the council's Dec. 10 decision and its deferral of the downtown-cap discussion, the residents' hopes for a June extension were effectively dashed.
"It appears that the city will not be taking the measures necessary for you to receive the benefits from us of additional time to reside in the building and additional relocation-assistance payments for which you had negotiated," Franzen's Dec. 13 letter stated.
The letter also informs residents that they will not be getting the "voluntary assistance payments" that AJ Capital had agreed to provide if the city and AJ agreed on more lax parking requirements.
The company's announcement, while not unexpected, extinguished the last remaining hopes of the residents who still live in the 75-unit building at 488 University Ave. Dennis Backlund was one of two residents who urged the council on Dec. 17, its final meeting of the year, to reach out to AJ Capital and try to obtain an extension for the residents.
The eviction, Backlund said, will come "at the height of rainy season." He said he doesn't know how he will be able to manage his move given his disability, which requires him to use a walker.
A former historical-preservation planner for the city, Backlund recalled the regular salons that he held in his apartment, where guests would discuss art, literature, philosophy and film.
"While we do regret losing our closely knit community at the President, we are proud of the activities we did there," Backlund told the council.
Iqbal Sarang, an architect who has lived at the President Hotel for 25 years, said, "It was a surprise, especially with the holiday season, that this deadline was shortened to Jan. 31.
"Many of us hoped and were under the impression that we'd get a little bit of a reprieve at least, at the behest of the City Council."
In his letter, Franzen said AJ Capital believes that the October agreement was "fair to both parties in that each received considerations that were valuable to them, but neither party received everything they had hoped for." The agreement prohibited residents from voicing any opposition to the conversion plan in exchange for more relocation assistance and an extension of their leases until the end of January (or mid-June, if the city approved the zone changes AJ Capital was seeking).
Franzen said the company also plans to pay $15,000 to the residents' attorney, Scott Emblidge, to reimburse residents for the legal expenses they incurred in negotiating the agreement.
This story contains 597 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.