CHESTERFIELD – An affordable housing complex located off south Jefferson Davis Highway is getting a facelift.
The owners of Colonial Ridge and The Glen at Colonial Heights apartments entered into a 30-year memorandum of understanding with Chesterfield County late last year meant to ensure the “livability and continued maintenance” of the property, which is located on the west side of the highway at Mangowood Drive just south of a railroad overpass.
The agreement requires extensive renovations to 292 units, including new roofs, frames, doors, furnaces, condensers, thermostats and hot water tanks.
A representative of the general contractor, Archer Western Construction LLC of Chicago, said the work began in early January. The target completion date is early 2019.
The upgrade of the apartments – which were built in the late 1970s – will include making 15 units compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The project will entail new construction, including a leasing office, maintenance building, pool and an expansion of a building currently used by the Chester YMCA for after-school classes for youth. Other improvements will include new fencing or “deterrent planting” to enclose the property, along with locked and gated entrances, additional playground equipment and three picnic pavilions.
The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors approved a resolution in support of the project last year in addition to the memorandum of understanding.
Karen Epps, director of the Colonial Heights Economic Development Authority, said $28 million in federal revenue bonds are being used to finance the project through that EDA.
A bond attorney from northern Virginia approached the organization about being a pass-through agency for the funding, which consists of industrial revenue bonds. The goal is to have the bonds paid off in three years, Epps said. She estimates that the city’s EDA will get $140,000 from fees associated from the project.
“It’s good for the EDA and the community,” she said, adding that the project is the first to use industrial revenue bonds sponsored by the organization.
As part of the agreement, the owner – Preservation Partners of Torrrance, Calif. – agreed to take “reasonable steps” to mitigate the displacement of residents due to the rehabilitation of the apartments. This includes ensuring that relocations are no longer than 12 months – preferably no greater than five days – and reimbursing displaced tenants for the cost of relocation along with any increased housing and utility costs. The owner is to provide displaced tenants advance written notice of any required relocation and the address of a suitable dwelling.
Preservation Partners is also required to offer residents health and wellness programs for free or a nominal fee throughout the year and provide space for two hours a month of educational and skill-building programs. At the county’s request, the owner would be required to offer residents information about drug and alcohol abuse treatment options.
Per the agreement, county employees can inspect the interior of up to 5 percent of the units on a quarterly basis to ensure compliance with the agreement and local, state and federal regulations. The owner is required to fix any deficiencies within 10 business days and establish a $100,000 replacement fund to ensure that reserves are enough to cure any breaches of the agreement.
The county’s Department of Community Enhancement is overseeing the project, county license inspector Rich Billingsley said. Other departments that could be involved include: police, building inspection and social services.
Jamal Riley, executive director of Chester YMCA, said the organization currently offers after-school programs to some 20 students at the apartments and has been doing so for seven or eight years.
Preservation Partners did not return two phone calls for this story.