The Metropolitan Development Commission voted in favor of facilitating a $12.5 million federal loan to the Meadows Community Foundation to take over a struggling apartment complex on the city’s near east side.
The 328-unit complex previously known as the Phoenix Apartments, now called the North Keystone Apartments, has been a hot bed for crime, including murder.
"The apartments now, there are families, maybe, that don't have hope because they are in their current situation," said Amandula Anderson with the Meadows Community Foundation, the company taking on the renovations. "I would say that right now it's a distressed property."
A Connecticut-based company currently owns the complex, but Anderson says having local control is a first step in its revival.
"We all know the case of when properties aren't owned by local individuals they don't have the care, the love that someone who lives in the community gets," she said. "It's going to change because there is going to be a lot more pride in that site."
The majority loan will be used to purchase the property and the rest for maintenance. The loan still needs approval of the full City County Council.
At-large Democratic Councilor Pam Hickman believes the plans for the Phoenix Apartments can change the area the same way other neighborhoods have.
"Whenever you see an area transform, like look at 24th and College and Broadway and Park and how tearing down those homes and building other homes that went in there, how that is (now) a walking neighborhood. You see mothers walking babies around in strollers, children walking around," said Hickman. "You didn't see that 10 years ago because it was the highest crime area in the city. Now, crime is unusual there."
More than 90 percent of the complex’s current residents receive government assistance.
Ultimately, Anderson says the goal is to rebuild the apartments, which will cost about $30 million to $40 million, and sell some at market value.
But, she thinks it will take about five years to put a financial package together to do so.