City news

After five years of almost zero interest in the property in northwest Abilene known as the Highlands, a Kansas City company requested a letter of intent from the city of Abilene for the property.

The Abilene City Commission voted 5-0 at its regular meeting Monday to send a letter of intent for purchase and sale of real estate to develop workforce housing to the Prairie Fire Development Group.

The company representing the interest of owners for their multifamily assets, including conventional and complicated affordable housing assets, has shown an interest in the Highlands.

According to its web page, Prairie Fire is looking to develop mixed-income workforce housing in Ottawa, using Housing Tax Credits, Housing Trust Fund and Moderate Income Housing Funds.

City Manager Jane Foltz said the letter of intent will allow the company to seek funds for an Abilene project.

As part of the letter of intent, the Abilene Land Bank, owners of the property known as the Highlands, is not allowed to negotiate with anyone other than Prairie Fire until Dec. 1.

The city will also be paid $2,500 for the exclusive option.

“At least there is some movement,” Foltz said.

“Thanks for all the hard work,” said Commissioner Tim Shafer.

“It’s been a long time waiting and we’re happy to move forward,” said Mayor Chris Ostermann.

 A selling price was not available Monday night.

Contact Tim Horan at

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