At every Greensboro City Council meeting, District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny asks about the Regency Inn and when the city is going to stop discussing and take some action to help the homeless population in Greensboro.
The second attempt at turning the Regency Inn into a permanent supportive housing facility for the homeless appears to be in trouble.
In November 2021, the City Council allocated $3 million to Partnership Homes to purchase the Regency Inn. The money was in the form of a no-interest forgivable loan, which sounds better than a grant, but in the end isn’t much different. Partnership Homes was unable to acquire the $10 million deemed necessary to turn a motel for regular people who paid for their rooms into a shelter for homeless people who would not pay a dime for their rooms.
So, in May 2023, the City Council approved a second plan proposed by the Director of the Housing and Neighborhood Development Department Michelle Kennedy to turn the facility over to Step Up on Second Inc. to buy, renovate and operate the old motel as a permanent supportive housing facility.
Currently, no one is being housed at the Regency Inn despite the frigid temperatures, when housing for the homeless population is desperately needed.
And Step Up on Second Inc. is in legal and financial trouble, having been named in a $100 million lawsuit filed by the state of California.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, California Attorney General Rob Bonta is demanding that Shangri-La Industries return more than $100 million in homeless funds to the state and put seven properties in receivership. The article states, “According to the complaint, Shangri-La took out loans on six of the seven properties without obtaining approval from the state or recording the required affordability restrictions on the properties.”
According to the article, Step Up On Second holds the titles to the properties and is also named in the lawsuit.
According to a News 13 report, the Step Up On Second project in Asheville is a bust. The report states that the property in Asheville had been foreclosed on after Shangri-La Construction had an affiliated company, River Ford LP, default on a loan of nearly $7 million.
Step Up On Second also has a project in Winston-Salem, and while that project is reportedly still in the works, it was supposed to open in 2023 with Shangri-La doing the construction work for Step Up On Second. The new deadline is between June and September of 2024.