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Lexington, North Carolina, Celebrates Renewal Historic Building's Renewal

Community Housing Partners (CHP) President and Chief Executive Officer Janaka Casper can tick off the extensive repairs and upgrades that his organization took on in order to renovate the 63 affordable apartment units located in the old Lexington Memorial Hospital, in Lexington, N.C., but he’d prefer to measure CHP’s success in the ways CHP helps people connect with a place they can truly call “home.”

“When residents move in, a transformation takes place,” Casper said. “And it goes from ‘housing’ to ‘home’—and home matters to all of us.”

Casper shared his comments as part of the dedication ceremony for Hilltop Terrace, a 43,500-square-foot facility originally built as a hospital in 1946 and converted to apartments in 1979. The January 11 dedication marked the official conclusion of work that began in 2007, when CHP started rehabilitating the building that rents to low- and moderate-income residents. Those renovations included all new windows, flooring, kitchen cabinets and appliances, heating systems, and laundry facilities, as well as exterior improvements—all completed in compliance with federal regulations on historic rehabilitation.

Lexington Mayor Newell Clark described the Hilltop Terrace building as one of the historic “gems” of Lexington, and expressed gratitude to CHP and its partners for their commitment to historic preservation. “It’s special when you take something that is a part of your of your community’s history and restore it because we are a historic community. We are an authentic community,” Newell told the Hilltop Terrace residents on hand at the dedication. “Your home has a lot of history, and you are going to add to that history.”

“This was truly a mission-driven effort,” said CHP Vice President of Real Estate Development David Schultz. He described the renovations as a project “that went off in record time, without any hiccups,” thanks in large part to “five years of perseverance and hard work” from CHP staff and contributions from partners that include the City of Lexington, BB&T Bank, Enterprise Community Investment, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation office, and the National Park Service.

Stephen Smith, vice president of syndication for Enterprise Community Investment, said that “days like today are the best days of my job” and went on to praise the dedication demonstrated by CHP. “This is an organization that is true to (its) mission,” Smith said. “[They] do what is right for the residents.”

Hilltop Terrace resident Sybil Hamilton echoed Smith’s sentiments during her comments at the dedication event. She thanked CHP and all partners for the improvements, and emphasized the “honesty and ethics” of the Hilltop Terrace staff and renovation professionals. “We are certainly blessed to have what we’ve got,” she said.