Apartments in Chattanooga's Westside to see $7.5 million revamp

Apartments in Chattanooga's Westside to see $7.5 million revamp

May 24th, 2018 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

A Chattanooga panel on Wednesday agreed to issue up to $7.5 million in revenue bonds so a Seattle company can buy and fix up a 120-unit apartment complex on the city's Westside.

The company, Vitus Group, plans to maintain the Ridgeway Apartments at 1212 Poplar St. as "affordable" housing, officials said.

Brooke Shorett, a Vitus assistant project manager, told the Chattanooga Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board that plans are to make interior improvements including new flooring and cabinets, and to replace kitchen appliances.

What's next

If the deal is finalized, work could start on rehabbing the Ridgeway Apartments in November with completion in mid-2019.

Outside, the company is to add a playground as well as a structure for offering computer training and after-school programming, she said.

She said the property is covered by a federal Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract that expires in 2019 and the company plans to renew it for another 20 years to keep the complex affordable for residents.

Shorett said the company is seeking a payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement with the city that could range up to 15 years. She said that agreement is still under negotiation.

Scott Langan, a Vitus principal and development director, said the apartment complex is about 50 years old.

"We're looking at this as really good housing," he said, adding that the redevelopment is an indicator of the momentum going on downtown.

Shorett said that while there are only three vacant units at the complex, "it could use a little upkeep and love."

She said that any people displaced by construction on the units will go to a hotel or similar situation for a week or two if needed.

Donna Williams

Donna Williams

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Donna Williams, the city's administrator of the Office of Economic and Community Development, said no resident will be permanently displaced by what she called the "substantial rehabilitation."

"People who currently live there can live there," she said.

Langan said the sale is to close in October with work starting in early November. The project should be finished by July 2019, he said.

Hicks Armor, the board's chairman, said it's appropriate that the deal will focus on helping the families which live in the apartment complex.

"I think it's good to have people who specialize in this. You have better outcomes," he said.

Since 1996, Vitus has developed or acquired over 10,000 units of affordable housing in 22 states.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.