Archive for Friday, January 9, 2009

Apartment makeover benefits seniors

Agency purchases, completes repairs to complex near Iowa St.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority has completed a $2.35 million project to buy and renovate the Clinton Place Apartments, just southwest of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street. The complex is once again being used as a facility for low-income seniors.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority has completed a $2.35 million project to buy and renovate the Clinton Place Apartments, just southwest of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street. The complex is once again being used as a facility for low-income seniors.

January 9, 2009

Advertisement

Apartment makeover benefits seniors

Two years and $2 million later, the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority is wrapping up a project to rehabilitate a troubled Lawrence apartment complex. Enlarge video

Alice Murphy, a resident of Clinton place Apartments, types an e-mail on one of two computers in the complex’s activity room.

Alice Murphy, a resident of Clinton place Apartments, types an e-mail on one of two computers in the complex’s activity room.

Open house begins today

The Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority will be host to an open house at Clinton Place Apartments, 2125 Clinton Parkway, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Two years ago, Jacqueline Bari was ready to move out of Clinton Place Apartments.

Rotting siding hung from the sides of the building. Dirty, moldy carpet filled the interior with a stench. And, worst of all, there was a figurative stench, too. The 58-unit apartment complex was rampant with drug activity and alcohol abuse.

“I was a little ashamed to live here,” Bari said.

But before she got her bags packed, the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority purchased the complex, just southwest of the intersection of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street.

Over the last two years, the Housing Authority has made $1 million worth of repairs and renovations to the apartments, and has returned the complex to its previous status as a facility for low-income seniors.

“I would have never thought it could look like this,” Bari said.

Barbara Huppee, executive director for the Housing Authority, said the renovation project included replacing all siding, windows and doors on the exterior of the building, and also included replacing the roof. Inside, all flooring, bathroom fixtures, furnaces and hot water heaters were replaced. Plus, space was rearranged to allow for a community kitchen, a new area to host a meals program run by Douglas County Senior Services, and the creation of a computer lab and exercise area. In addition, a fire-sprinkler system was installed throughout the building.

The authority also paid $1.35 million for the property.

The property has been part of a federal subsidized housing program since it was built in the 1980s. But in 2006 it appeared likely that the property would be torn down and turned into some other use that would take advantage of its prime location.

The previous owner of the building, a Leawood investment group, had let the mortgage fall into default, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — which had backed the mortgage — had started foreclosure proceedings.

Huppee’s organization negotiated a sale with the owner just days prior to a foreclosure auction. Huppee said if the property had been auctioned, she’s convinced the new owners would have converted the land into something other than affordable housing.

“It would have been a loss of 58 affordable housing units, and in this community, that would have been significant,” Huppee said.

The Housing Authority owns or manages about 1,200 housing units throughout the county. The authority makes the units available to people who qualify for subsidized housing through various federal programs.

The authority originally had contemplated seeking funding from the city of Lawrence to help pay for the purchase and renovation of the apartments. But ultimately, Huppee said the organization found it could finance and fund the project itself.

Currently, 48 of the 58 one-bedroom apartments in the complex are rented.

Comments

Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

Good job.Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority takes care of the properties that I know of inside and out. Babcock Place is an excellent example.

southernjayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations, Barbara. A real opportunity was seized here; this is a real win-win. The dollar figures seem reasonable, an eyesore is replaced with an attractive property that serves a huge need. This helps restore my faith that a government entity can do something well at a fair price.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 3 months ago

Absolutely! I am a senor (63) who lives in Vermont Towers which has gone though the same kind of renovation, and I am happy, comfortable and secure, so I am looking at this from a very personal position. I missed being a baby boomer by just two months, I was born in October of 1945, but this year and afterwards there will be a great demand.

Christine Anderson 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes, kudos! It's about the "H" time! I say that NOT to ding Lawrence Housing Authority, but to say that the previous management was terrible!! I am very, very glad this was done.My mother lived there, and after repeatedly complaining to the manager at the time about the smell, the drunks, etc, she saw no other option but to move out. My mom had a fellow tenant who was wheel-chair bound. The elevators at Clinton Place were out of service for a prolonged time. This lady had to CRAWL up the stairs, because the elevator was not working.Thankfully, HUD has done something about it.Question- what plan do they have in place to keep it drug and drunk free?

Sigmund 6 years, 3 months ago

I especially like this, "The authority originally had contemplated seeking funding from the city of Lawrence to help pay for the purchase and renovation of the apartments. But ultimately, Huppee said the organization found it could finance and fund the project itself."This was a big project and a huge win in the end. Keep this up and you are going to give government bureaucracies a good name. Huppee should consider running for the city Commission, seriously.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.