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Tracking Progress: Joplin Senior Housing Center Project
By Jennifer Penate
JOPLIN, MO.--- 14 acres of land on 26th and McClelland will be the home of Joplin's new senior housing center.
"We're expecting to acquire the land by the end of this year," said Bruce Anderson, Wallace Bajjali C.F.O.
Though it might be difficult to acquire the land, a procurement process needs to take place- which is an agreement between the project partners. In this case, Wallace Bajjali and the city. A specific process needs to be followed with HUD since the city plans to use $4.5 million of a CDBG grant toward the development.
"When you use these federal funds, there a lot of strings attached," said Troy Bolander, Joplin Planning and Community Development Manager.
The city's consultant firm Deloitt is overseeing the project to make sure they are complying with HUD. It recently caught a red flag, halting the procurement process. Wallace Bajjali C.O.O Raymond Braswell says this delays the next step of land acquisition, an environmental review.
"If you ask if I can commit to all of our dates, well, I can but I can't do anything about this delay because I have nothing to do with it," said Raymond Braswell, Wallace Bajjali C.O.O.
"Raymond is correct, the ball is actually in our court. The situation that threw the red flag was it was actually a separate corporation formed for this senior housing development. I believe it was Southwest Missouri JOMO. Well, our potential contract is no longer with Wallace Bajjali, it's with this new corporation. So, did we violate our procurement process, when we did that? So that's what we're checking into right now with HUD," said Bolander.
Braswell says the new company is a venture with O'Reilly Development of Springfield.
"Because they're experts at this type of product," said Braswell.
"Now, we're not really complaining about the partnership, I mean, O'Reilly is a great company. Does a quality product, so we're very happy that they have this partnership, but we just need to clarify before we enter in any contracts that we're not going to violate something because we technically didn't procure for this company we may be entering in a contract with," said Bolander.
According to the city attorney, HUD could ask the city to return the CDBG funds if the proper procurement process is not followed.
"That's why we have Deloit, that's why they're in here, and that's why we're submitting this issue to HUD," said Peter Edwards, Joplin City Attorney.
The city is hoping they will have clarification from HUD in what to do in the next couple of weeks. Once complete, the assisted living center will consist of 66 units and a total of 80 beds.