Cumberland Times-News

October 10, 2012

Keyser council OKs Keyser House contract

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— KEYSER, W.Va. — City council approved a management contract and/or sale for the city’s interest in the Keyser House at its Wednesday meeting.

Mayor Randy Amtower said he was recently in Columbus, Ohio, and met with a Rockville management company that has been hired by the developer to restore the Keyser House. The Keyser House will be rehabilitated through tax credits and it is estimated to cost about $2.7 million, according to Amtower.

“There are adequate funds in the tax credit program to rehab this and they are very much interested in purchasing the project,” said Amtower. “This is something they can only do once a year. The filing period is something that they said moves back a little each year.”

Amtower indicated that the company may not be able to file for the federal tax credit program until April 2013.

The Keyser House is a 44-unit complex funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Mayor Randy Amtower.

“There are 30-some units occupied right now,” said Amtower. “HUD is threatening to pull the funding on this project. They have until January to get the HUD REAC (Real Estate Assessment Center) scores up. Their last score was a 34 and they have to have a minimum of 60 to keep HUD from pulling the funding.”

If HUD recalls its funding,  all of its residents will be displaced and moved to alternate housing, according to Amtower.

“What you will have is a vacant building on Main Street. A couple months of that we have more liability then we care,” said Amtower. “What I’m trying to do is facilitate the negotiations with the management company, us the owner and Huntington Bank, which is the trustee.”

The Keyser House was a project that was implemented in 1981. The city bonded out $1.5 million to build the project,  Amtower said. The project then was leased over to a developer and was set up on a 30-year lease.

“At the end of that 30-year lease it was set up that then once the lease conditions were met and the bonds were paid the developer could obtain that property for $100,” said Amtower.

Keyser House then went into a bankruptcy restructuring and has since defaulted.

“We were actually named in the lawsuit, when the defendant defaulted on the bond payment. The deed to this property is still in the name of the city of Keyser,” said Amtower. “Our liability is limited to the revenue stream of the property.”

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at