November 28, 2017

The redevelopment of J. Van Story Branch Senior Apartments in Baltimore, Maryland, may be in the early planning stages, but Community Housing Partners (CHP) is already opening lines of communication with residents.

Representatives from CHP Real Estate Development and Resident Services met with the residents of the 357-unit, 19-story apartment building on Nov. 8 during a meeting held by the Tenant Council and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC). More than 65 residents attended to learn about CHP and HABC’s anticipated Rental Assistant Demonstration (RAD) conversion for the building.

“Van Story will continue to serve Baltimore’s populations of elderly and non-elderly disabled residents,” said Samantha Brown, Assistant Vice President of Real Estate Development. “After we close on the property in 2018, we will undertake major renovations totaling more than $30 million, including replacement of the building’s mechanical systems, roof replacement, the installation of a new elevator, and upgrades to individual units and common areas.”

During the meeting, CHP staff members introduced themselves as well as representatives from the third-party architect, Marks Thomas Architects, and construction contractor, Southway Builders. CHP previously enlisted the services of these agencies for Primrose Place Apartments, another housing complex serving seniors and the non-elderly disabled in Baltimore which underwent a RAD conversion in 2017. (Watch a video about Primrose Place Apartments.)

Danielle Clemons, Resident Services Coordinator, explained how she worked closely with residents during the Primrose Place redevelopment and will be doing the same at Van Story starting in 2018. She also introduced a Primrose Place resident who provided a resident perspective on the renovation process.

Jeff Hill, Project Executive with Southway Builders, then spoke with residents about the in-unit construction process and described the project scope, which includes new doors, kitchens, baths, flooring, and windows. (Watch a video about tenant-in-place renovations from Southway Builders.)

Tom Liebel, Principal with Marks Thomas Architects, discussed other project components such as the additional elevator, new laundry and trash rooms on each floor, lighting, and security. When construction is complete, the renovated building will have 350 units and continue to serve families and individuals at or below 60 percent of the area median income. Janet Abrahams, Executive Director of HABC, also provided remarks to the residents before the meeting was opened to questions and feedback from residents.

The RAD program gives public housing authorities such as HABC a way to preserve and improve public housing properties by converting them to long-term Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Contracts. In late 2014, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a RAD commitment for the Van Story development to enter one of these contracts. All rents will be subsidized by a new, 20-year Section 8 contract.

Following the resident meeting, CHP representatives met with the Van Story Tenant Council. CHP plans to continue open communication with residents and project stakeholders before, during, and after construction.