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Home, Inc. withdraws offer

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The Home, Inc. board of trustees decided last week to terminate its contract for a purchase option with Rabbit Run Farm on Dayton Street. Home, Inc. needed more time to establish a development partner for its housing project, and Rabbit Run owner Suzanne Patterson could not extend the option past the June 2010 limit specified in the contract signed in October.

“We’re fortunate to have had the opportunity with Rabbit Run — we thought it was a good deal,” Home, Inc. board chair Len Kramer said Tuesday. “We’re disappointed — we really wanted it to work out.”

Home, Inc. had planned to build a housing development with possibly as many as 30 attached and single-dwelling units on the farm’s 7.5 acres, Home, Inc. Director Marianne MacQueen told the News in November. The vision was to make half the homes affordable homes, and the other half market rate. Home, Inc. had begun to assess the community’s need for such a project in order to determine its scope.

When the housing organization signed the purchase option in October, the ability to secure a development partner to share in the estimated $5 to $6 million investment cost within nine months seemed plausible, Kramer said this week. However, looking at the same scenario with just six months until the deadline and little sign that the economy is recovering, made the task seem less doable, he said. The group’s development consultant, local resident Fritz Leighty, recommended that Home, Inc. would need to extend the purchase option for at least another year to June 2011. But if Home, Inc. chose to terminate the contract before Jan. 1, 2010, the contract allowed for the organization to recover part of its purchase option fee.

“We wanted an additional year, and we can understand her reasoning — it’s a long time to ask for,” Kramer said.

For Patterson, who was looking forward to selling her property to Home, Inc., the extension of the option until June 2010 was already a long time, she said on Tuesday. To extend that for an additional year was a hardship she felt she could not afford, and now Rabbit Run will go on the open market.

“I feel strongly about what we were planning to do — it’s exactly what I had hoped for here,” Patterson said of Home, Inc.’s plans to develop the property for affordable housing. “But they needed more time, and I didn’t have any more time to give them.”

Home, Inc. still hopes to pursue plans for a mixed housing development in Yellow Springs, Kramer said, because as MacQueen stated in November, the most impactful way of providing mixed-income housing in the village is to go beyond the one house at a time model and “build in multiples.”

“We’re not looking at anything specific, but we’re always actively looking,” Kramer said.

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