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Tuesday July 17th, 2018 2:09AM

AUDIO: New life coming to 44-year-old Gainesville apartment complex

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – A major facelift is on the way for a Gainesville apartment complex that has been showing its age: Linwood Apartments, constructed in 1974, will soon “have a brand-spanking-new shiny look."

That according to Scott Langan, Development Director for Vitus, a New York-based firm that specializes in affordable housing projects via rehabilitation; Langan appeared before the Gainesville City Council at its Thursday morning work session.

Linwood Apartments is located just west of Thompson Bridge Road and south of Lakewood Baptist Church.

Langan said the Linwood rehab will operate in tandem with a similar effort taking place in Savannah at Westlake Apartments; Gainesville will independently mirror Savannah in the issuance of tax-exempt multifamily housing revenue bonds.

The reason for the dual-city redevelopment according to Langan is that the owner of the Linwood Apartments in Gainesville is also the owner of Westlake Apartments in Savannah, and he wishes to divest of both properties.  Langan added that the federal government and the state government prefer funding the project as a single enterprise rather than two separate operations.

According to the Vitus proposal an average of $45,500 will be spent rehabilitating each of the 99 units in the Linwood complex.

Mayor Danny Dunagan described the $5-million rehabilitation spending plan as “huge”.  “It’s been there a long time and it needs a good facelift.”

Langan said if bond issuance is approved by the city Vitus will purchase the property at the end of this month and then close the deal with the Department of Community Affairs as soon as possible.  As to a specific time table Langan said, “We might do some exterior work before Thanksgiving but I don’t expect that we’ll want to get into people’s apartments until the first of the year because of the holidays.”

While not all units will undergo modifications that require major demolition and reconstruction, Langan said some relocation would be necessary as crews work progressively through the 99-apartment units.

Langan guaranteed that detail will be provided for.  “It’ll be totally, professionally done, making sure the kids get to school and all that stuff.” 

He said where necessary hotel accommodations would be provided for the days of displacement but residents would likely be able to access their units each evening to collect items needed; he added that meal expenses would be covered as necessary in those situations.

Langan said the outdoor areas will also be revitalized.  “You’ll be getting new playgrounds, new paving, new parking and new fencing.”

(You can hear Langan’s complete presentation to the Gainesville City Council by using the audio player to the left.)

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