Significant Renovations to be Made; Will be Rebranded as The Grandeur
|Imperial Apartments "front" building, 825 S. Grand. FTM file.|
Many residents spoke at that meeting and had noted they had reached a boiling point. Paul Menetrey, who lives on Crescent Avenue, was the first to speak at that June 1 meeting. "I’ve lived on Crescent for 36 years and it's gotten out of hand. A lot of noise, a lot of cursing. It’s an ongoing problem," he said.
As they left, the residents held out hope that the pending sale of the Imperial Apartments would signal a chance to reboot and renew relations with a new landlord and tenants.
"If there is in deed an ownership change, we may be able to set up a forum with the new owner, residents and the police department to move forward in a positive way," said Police Chief, Mike Daly at the June 1 meeting.
Councilman Ken Bowman agreed during the meeting. "Hopefully the new owner will take a different approach, so it’s not just a paycheck to them month after month and they can take an interest in the community and neighbors," he said.
Now that the ownership has indeed changed, it looks as though the neighbors and the City's desire will be coming to fruition. The deed was filed last week.
Courtyard Properties also owns several apartments and condos in Fort Thomas including 126-132 S. Fort Thomas Avenue, 830-840 Alexandria Pike and 645 Highland Avenue. With the purchase of 825-831 S. Grand, they now own 100 units in the city. The Courtyard Properties management team is comprised of Chad Fiedler and some family members.
"We have improved other properties in Fort Thomas. People are dying to live there, so it's not difficult to rent high value units there," said Fiedler. "We plan on making this property very nice and up to par with the rest of the city."
Cincy Area Properties is handling the management and renovations for the ownership group, and is owned by Jesse Brewer and Matt Amos.
Brewer told FTM that Courtyard plans to invest around $200,000 in the facilities. "We buy undervalued properties that we see an opportunity to increase their value. (Imperial Apartments) had all ingredients. We are going to empty out the back building and will be releasing those tenants so we can start renovating. New landscaping, removing some old trees, making the property more visible, a new roof, and making each interior have a nicer layout will be our main objectives," he said.
The improvements will include approximately $10,000 in each of the 16 units in the back building. Window units will also be removed and replaced with centralized air conditioning.
Once renovations are complete, the named will change from Imperial Apartments to The Grandeur.
|831 S. Grand Avenue. The "back building."|
At the June 1 council meeting, residents left by tasking the City to work with the Housing Authority to see if it were possible for new ownership to deny Section 8 housing vouchers. The answer the City received, was that while current section 8 contracts have to be honored, the owners are not required to accept that form of payment in the future.
"Section 8 has a stigma about it," said Brewer. "We manage 1,200 units in the Cincinnati area and have had great Section 8 tenants and bad Section 8 tenants. We've also had terrible tenants that paid cash. With the renovations that we are going to complete, the units will be very nice and the rent that we will be asking will likely be out of range for what Section 8 will allow, therefore it's probably not something we are going to be able to accept."
Brewer said that rents, which are now between $600-650, will move up between $800-900. It is believed that it may take up to a year for current section 8 contracts to be honored.
Renovations will begin at 831 S. Grand Avenue and residents have already received their eviction notices. Sonia Knight is a resident who lives in the back building. She received her eviction notice on July 6, which requires her to vacate the premises by August 31.
"We were told we could stay if we were in good standing and the following week (831 S. Grand) got evicted for remodeling. I don't know what I'm going to do, I can't find a place," said Knight.
Knight has a child in the Fort Thomas Independent Schools District.
"This is the best possible outcome that we could hope for," said City Councilman, Ken Bowman. "We truly hope the new management group pulls through on some of the commitments they have made. The residents of Fort Thomas should feel comfortable knowing this is the best case scenario."
The residents who came to voice their concern about the actions at Imperial Apartments are happy about the new ownership as well. Krista Jacob, who lives directly next door to the complex on Grand Avenue is looking forward to the change in ownership. "I am beyond excited about having new ownership that is working closely with the city and that also sees the value in making changes to the property," she said. "My hope is that (the new management) continues to move toward the vision of providing a clean, safe, quiet environment for the tenants of the apartments as well as the surrounding neighbors."