By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Downtown Development Authority of Madison (DDA) unanimously approved a contract for almost $298,000 with Whitsel Construction Services, Inc., for renovations on the Gilmore House property.

Whitsel Construction Services will charge an additional 9 percent fee as the superintendent of the project, which DDA Chair Shandon Land described as a “decent” rate.

The Gilmore House project, which was initially brought to the DDA by the Madison City Council, will be used as a cannery and a beauty/barber shop upon completion, as well as offering two low-cost office spaces, three affordable one-bedroom apartments, and a multi-purpose community room.

The projected rent from the offices, beauty shop, and apartments will be $1,350, which does not take into consideration rental fees from the community room.

The DDA is taking out a loan to pay the renovation costs, the monthly mortgage payment of which will total $1,900 with a 3.6 percent interest rate on a 20-year amortization. The DDA has budgeted an amount of more than $63,000 over the next five years to carry the remaining portion of the mortgage payments not covered by rent.

Land stated that the Gilmore House project was never intended to be an economic development project, whose goal would be to make money, but a “community development project” that would only break even over time, while providing a service to the area.

The proposed corner store, a part of the Gilmore House project, will not be developed concurrently with the current renovations.

The DDA also awarded Thompson Structures, Oxford, a demolition contract for the structures at 787 College Drive and at 992 Mapp Street based on low quotes of $6,618 and $2,165 for the buildings, respectively.

Monica Callahan, Madison Planning Director, stated that the College Drive demolition should take place this month, while the Mapp Street demolition will have to wait until March. Callahan also informed the DDA that the NBC/Star Drug building at 150 West Washington Street currently has two tenants.

The combined total of $900 that the tenants pay in rent each month “more than services the debt” payments on the property, stated Callahan.