A truly thankful group of residents gathered at the grand re-opening of the Statesboro Summit Apartments on North Main Street this past Wednesday afternoon.
Dubbed Statesboro’s most noticeable eyesore by many, an elated crowd including local, state, and federal dignitaries basked in a relatively cool June afternoon admittedly speechless at the transformation accomplished by Ambling Development Partners, LLC, an Atlanta-based real estate developer that bought the Summit just over a year ago.
Ambling raised $4 million in investment equity by selling low income housing tax credits to investors. Those dollars were used in the total renovation of the Summit both inside and out.
According to Brenda Hull, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) director of multi-family housing for the state of Georgia, the rehabilitation of the Summit is more extensive than most properties rent subsidized by HUD.
"This property had a lot of issues because it involved both acquisition and rehabilitation,” Hull said. “Ambling had to purchase it from the previous owners, and to do that they had to be given the tax credits so as to be able to generate investment equity to be used for the renovation of the building."
Ken Blankenship, senior vice president of Ambling Development Partners, said the acquisition and renovation of the Summit was one the most ambitious and most successful projects of that nature that his company has undertaken.
"If you all knew what this apartment building was like before we started, then you would know why we are so proud of what has been accomplished here," Blankenship said. "To put together a project of this type and magnitude takes a tremendous amount of organization."
One of the most difficult aspects of rehabilitating the Summit was renovating the inside without moving the residents off site.
Tennessee based Empire Construction is the building contractor that carried out the project. Rich Cheverton, vice president of Empire, said five residents per week had to be moved out of their rooms so work could be done.
"The work was difficult for a couple of reasons," Cheverton said. "First, the inside had to be totally renovated from top to bottom with new paint, carpet, appliances, bathroom fixtures just to name some of the work that we did. On top of that, all of the apartment units were occupied, so we had one week to rehab each unit, while those residents were moved around the complex. We "rehabbed" five units per week."
All 98 units in the Summit have been renovated and residents are enjoying the new exercise room, computer room, and lobby. Residents said they are very proud of their "new" building.
"I no longer have flooding in my apartment, and people are asking me if the Summit looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside," Summit resident, Terry Harn, said. "That makes me so proud."
Statesboro mayor, Bill Hatcher, said he was at a loss for words in trying to describe the work that had been done.
"All I can say is 'wow', isn't this a beautiful place," Hatcher said. "I have to confess that I had some doubts that the finished product would be this spectacular."
The Summit provides affordable housing to senior citizens and disabled individuals through rent subsidies from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.Built in 1979, the Statesboro Summit Apartments is located on 1.8 acres. More information about the Ambling Companies can be found on their website, www.ambling.com.