Sherman Thompson Towers sells for $5.5M

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cleveland-based Millennia Housing Development on Tuesday purchased the Sherman Thompson Towers from LM Associates for $5.5 million.

Sherman Thompson Towers is a 153-unit United States Department of Housing and Urban Development high rise for people over 62 or disabled.

The complex was built in the 1970s as a federally funded housing project managed by LM Associates with the property owned by the Ironton Metropolitan Housing Authority.

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A reversionary clause in the lease allowed the housing authority to own the building at the end of 2032.

In 2013 Leroy Eslinger of LM Associates went to the county commission for help in removing the reversionary clause in an attempt to keep the building and own the property.

Commissioner Bill Pratt, who was commission president at that time, was instrumental in renegotiating the lease. At that time, Eslinger gave Ironton and the county each a check for $250,000. The city has already spent its money while the county is waiting for a ruling from the state auditor on whether it can legally use that check and how.

“That is not something that is unexpected,” Pratt said. “We were hoping when we helped negotiate the lease it could be renovated. Hopefully that is what is in store with the building. From past history we knew Leroy wouldn’t be a good caretaker. This could only be good.”

The Millennia Companies owns and manages nearly 130 multifamily communities totaling over 10,000 residential units in Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, West Virginia, Kentucky and New York.

According to Millennia’s website, the company “strives to provide the highest quality of standards in the management, operation, and development of affordable and market rate rental housing, thereby striving to enrich the quality of life for our residents.”

Longtime Sherman Thompson resident Hilda Davidson said she was not surprised when a meeting took place with the new owners.

“All the residents were brought in to meet the new people,” she said. “They seemed really nice and said they would be providing dinners on Thanksgiving, Christmas and other days throughout the year, which is the way it used to be here.”

The idea that a change in ownership would mean Sherman Thompson would become non-senior housing is something Davidson said has become an afterthought.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all,” she said. “It’s almost non-senior housing now. It’s horrible. People bring booze in here and don’t even try to hide it. When it’s the weekend, people show up with sleeping bags and air mattresses and they stay for days. We can’t get ahold of anyone in the office. During Thanksgiving the office was closed for five days straight and I’m sure it will be the same during Christmas and New Year’s. The only one I have never had any trouble getting ahold of is Margie (Collins).”

Davidson said every day since residents met with new ownership there has been a man, who was at the meeting, in the office at Sherman Thompson.

“I’m looking forward (to the new ownership),” she said. “I hope it’s better; a lot of improvements could be made. There are a lot of undesirable people in here and none of it was this way when I got here. Within the past five years this place is completely different than what it was. I am hoping the new company changes some things because I would hate to move out because of just two or three little things I don’t like.”