Urban Development Authority Secures Contract to Purchase Dempsey

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

The Urban Development Authority announced that it has secured a sales contract for the Dempsey Apartments at 523 Cherry Street from The Barkan Companies, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. The completed sale will transfer ownership of the Dempsey to the Urban Development Authority and allow local management of its 194 residential apartments and first floor retail space.

In 1983, with support from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and Bibb County, The Barkan Companies purchased and rehabilitated the Dempsey Hotel into affordable housing for low-income elderly persons.  At the time many similar properties were being demolished, and it was likely that this historic landmark would have been lost. Barkan has continued to own and manage the property for the benefit of this community for 35 years. The Authority thanks them for their stewardship and collaboration in this process.

Upon the completed sale, the Macon Housing Authority and UDA will enter into a management contract, in which MHA manages the residential portion of the facility.

Plans for the building or its residents will not change. While the sale will place the Dempsey under local ownership and management, the transfer does not affect the HUD HAP Contract in place until 2025, as well as the restrictive use agreement in place until 2035 that requires the property to be available for residents who meet affordability requirements. No current residents who meet these requirements will be displaced.

“This is a historic opportunity for Downtown Macon to regain ownership of a cornerstone property and ensure its residents and our downtown vibrancy benefit from local management,” said Chris Sheridan, Chair of the Urban Development Authority. “This opportunity was made possible through the tenacity of the UDA and our access to private funding that keeps tax dollars from being used. We believe that this change will provide the most value for all of Macon, primarily Dempsey residents and Downtown stakeholders.”

With MHA managing the residential apartments, UDA will manage the vacant commercial properties located on the ground floor of the Dempsey, at the corner of Cherry and Third Streets. Material upgrades are also planned for the facility.

“The Macon-Bibb County Housing Authority believes this is a great opportunity for the entire Downtown community,” said CEO Mike Austin. “We have been managing affordable housing for over 75 years, and we are proud to be a part of this local effort, along with the terrific leadership of the UDA.”

Peter Barkan, CEO of The Barkan Companies is optimistic for the future of Dempsey Apartments and its residents.  He said, “After owning and operating Dempsey for nearly four decades, we are pleased to see control of this important building transfer to the UDA. This is a great opportunity to reinvest in the building as we did back in 1983, which will benefit the residents, the City, and this historic landmark.”