The city's economic-development office is sticking by its recommendation to loan Mozella McLaughlin $175,000 to renovate and enlarge her building at 2520 Fayetteville Street, but it has added a couple of clauses.
If the building gets sold within five years, or its use changed from McLaughlin's proposed jazz cultural center, the taxpayers can get their money back.
Those clauses were added after concerns were raised that the building might be renovated and then "flipped."
The loan, which was continued from a City Council meeting in August, has become a controversial item. Councilman Eugene Brown, in particular, has questioned the project's financial viability; and the building's present tenant, Know Book Store owner Bruce Bridges, has said the decreased space and increased rent the renovation would bring might force him out of business.
McLaughlin, a 92-year-old retired teacher and retailer, and her children are seeking the loan under the city's Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization program. If the council approves the loan, she would not receive any money until the proposed construction is actually complete.
A public hearing on the loan is scheduled for the council's regular meeting Sept. 21.