LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 91-year old woman who once refused to sell her dilapidated home for six times its value says she’s reached a deal to move and leave the land for a student apartment complex near the University of Kansas.
Georgia Bell said Wednesday she has agreed to sell her home of 70 years to Chicago-based development group Here, LLC. If the deal hadn’t been reached, the developer had received city permission to erect a five-story building on three sides of Bell’s home. The terms of the deal were not released, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/1fZ7jn4 ).
In March, developers told city officials they had offered Bell $600,000 for a house the county appraiser had valued at around $93,000. Bell refused that deal, saying she wanted to stay in the home where she raised six children.
The City Commission approved Here, LLC’s plans to build about 175 apartments on three sides of her property. Commissioners said at the time they were bewildered by Bell’s refusal to accept the offer.
On Wednesday, Bell said she was offended by the commissioners’ comments and still wasn’t entirely satisfied with the new deal.
“They thought they were so smart and I was so dumb,” Bell said. “They should keep their damn mouths shut up there at the City Commission.”
A representative with the development company said demolition work could begin in the fall and the complex is expected to open in time for the 2016 school year. Development plans indicate the complex will include the land that currently hold Bell’s home.
“I think it is a win for Ms. Bell,” said James Heffernan, an executive with Here LLC. “It gives her an opportunity for a fresh start, which she wanted. It is good for the city because it will increase the tax rolls, and will allow for the removal of a property that had become blighted, honestly.”
Bell’s home was already adjacent to a student apartment complex but the new residences will be larger and would have blocked access to her back door.
On Wednesday, Bell said she was worried about finding a new home.
“I’ve had a hard time living here,” Bell said. “It isn’t so much whether I want to move or not. It is where I’m going to move to from here.”
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com