Beacon Light demo moving forward

Mayor Pete O’Geary announced at the beginning of Monday evening’s Henderson City Council meeting that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had informed him in a conference call that it will sign and send a memo of understanding to the city that will allow for the demolition of the former Beacon Light Apartments complex.

The memo of understanding between the city and HUD will provide for the reimbursement of the city’s expenses related to the tearing down of the abandoned and dilapidated Section 8 apartments. The money will be taken from a letter of credit on deposit with HUD from current owner Sharif Abdehalim.

Abdehalim acquired the property in 2008 after HUD foreclosed on the former owner, the Beacon Light Masonic Lodge. Although he paid on $48,000 for the 108-unit complex, he was required to put up a letter of credit of approximately $1.1 million to ensure that rehabilitation work took place. Although Abdehalim was required by his sales contract with HUD to convert the land to single-family owner-occupied dwellings, Abdehalim twice approached the city council with a request to be allowed to rebuild Beacon Light as rental apartment units. During the resulting stalemate between Abdehalim and the city, fires took place in several buildings causing further decimation to the property. The city approved an demolition ordinance against the property earlier this year.

Later in the meeting, City Manager Ray Griffin reported that Code Compliance Director Corey Williams was working toward getting bids for the demolition of Beacon Light along with the appropriate permits. He also noted that HUD officials “felt these were reasonable expenses” and had no problems with the current planned expenditures.

The last estimate of the cost of demolition of the complex was $250,000.

Griffin also told members that an official from HUD plans to visit Henderson to look at the project once it begins.