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City Buys Its Third Rooming House in One Month

City looks to convert the structures into single-family homes.

The rooming house at 11900 Madison Avenue is now owned by the city of Lakewood.

It’s the third such property bought by the city in one month.

Looking to get rid of some of the city’s rooming houses — as well as the uptick in crime that goes with them — the city plans to convert them into single-family homes.

The property — once the home of Rockwood Subs and Suds — came with a price tag of $35,000, paid for with the city’s economic development fund. 

At 15 rooms, it was the largest boarding house in the city. But for the last few years, the vacant and dilapidated structure had been plagued by foreclosure.

“Rooming houses are an outmoded style of housing,” said Ward 2 councilman Tom Bullock in a statement. “A much better fit for these neighborhoods is to restore these homes to single or two-family homes.”

Only 10 boarding houses remain in the city.

At a special city council meeting in late-March, in a packaged deal, from Aivars and Anita S. Auzenbergs, for $207,000.

The city used $150,000 from its land acquisition fund, and another approximately $67,000 from the general fund, to pay for those properties. 

“We expect to get most of the taxpayer’s money back by reselling these properties with deed restrictions preventing them from use other than single family, or possibly two family homes,” said Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers in his recent blog post.

“But profit is not our motive. Neighborhood stabilization and enhancement is our goal."

The city’s zoning code grandfathered any rooming houses that existed prior to the 1980s but placed heavy restrictions on newer rooming houses, making them difficult to open, according to a news release from the city

The city will sell all three of the homes — with new deed restrictions — as single-family homes.

“This was government doing some of its best work," added Summers.

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