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SANFORD, FL-In rare public comments, Sanford Housing Authority executive director Timothy Hudson, says six aging apartment complexes in his area should be removed from the jurisdiction of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and offered to a private developer who could renovate and operate the assets more efficiently.

The developer would have the option of either razing the existing properties and replacing them with a mix of new shelter and commercial development or renovating and improving all six multifamily buildings. The structures house 238 family tenants in an estimated 600 units.

The developer would allocate at least 40% of the units to public housing tenants. The remainder would be rented at current market rates. One property especially, the 100-unit Lake Monroe Terrace apartments, is in rickety condition and has long needed repairs. <p<In a published statement, Hudson says he feels a private developer could quickly raise about $7 million and do the Lake Monroe Terrace job in eight months compared to his agency which would take 10 years to complete the job because of bureaucratic Federal red tape. Placing the six public housing properties under private ownership would put the complexes on the tax rolls and make them a revenue-maker for the city, Hudson says. Under HUD, the properties are exempt from local taxes.

But convincing the tenants of such a plan will be a difficult assignment, the Housing Authority official concedes.

Many of the tenants have lived in the projects for decades and fear they would be paying higher rents and be less protected by HUD in a newer, privately-operated facility. The Sanford Housing Authority lost an appeal to HUD earlier this year when it requested money to fix up or replace some of the aging structures with new residential and commercial facilities.

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