Whitaker’s failed renovation missed affordable housing goal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines official says a failed apartment-rehabilitation project by acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was a missed opportunity to preserve affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood.

Chris Johansen, the city’s community development director, says the city didn’t lose money on the project that Whitaker abandoned in 2016.

He says Whitaker sold the building to another developer who assumed the $165,000 public loan and later paid it back. Johansen says all 22 units in the apartment building today are being rented at market rates.

When the city council awarded Whitaker’s company the loan in 2012, the agreement called for half the units to be for low-income residents for five years.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the city terminated the deal in 2016 after Whitaker stopped making progress toward completion.

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