Outside Firm Fails To Close Deal To Buy Tubman Property; Hakeem Says City Still Interested

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
CHA board
CHA board
- photo by Brent McDonald (See video On NewsChannel 9)

An outside firm that had made a proposal to buy the Harriet Tubman property failed to complete the deal by the deadline.

City Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem told members of the Chattanooga Housing Authority Board that the city still is interested in the property.

CHA officials had recommended approving Lakewood Development's request to proceed with a "dry closing" on Wednesday (signing all documents), and allowing the firm to extend its payment of the entire $2,850,000 no later than Jan. 22.  Lakewood offered an additional $500,000 in earnest money as an inducement for acceptance of this modification.  If the firm failed to follow through with payment, then CHA would retain this additional $500,000 plus the initial $50,000 earnest money.

However, a roll call vote was taken and all CHA commissoners voted "No" on the extension.  That means Lakewood had until close of business today to wire CHA the full purchase price.  Otherwise, the firm will have violated the contract.  

Prior to the vote, Councilman Hakeem addressed the board stating that the mayor, City Council, and people of the community have a great interest in seeing the Tubman property put to the highest and best use, which is why they were at today's meeting.  

He said it looked like Lakewood was "pulling our chain" in asking for an additional extension when  they have had more than one opportunity to solidify this deal.  He asked that CHA give the city an opportunity to make a reasonable offer for the property.  He stated that he "was here today on behalf of the mayor, City Council, and city residents to ask that CHA not accept this offer and let us (city) work out an offer on the property."

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