September 27, 2018
While the acquisition of J. Van Story Branch Senior Apartments is still a few months away, the development team at Community Housing Partners (CHP) has already begun meeting with residents in the 20-story apartment community in Baltimore’s Charles North neighborhood.
CHP’s Real Estate Development, Property Management, and Resident Services divisions organized two meetings for residents on Sept. 20. More than 110 residents learned more about the renovation project at the meetings, which included representatives from Southway Builders, Moseley Architects, and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.
“These resident meetings were the first of many opportunities that residents will have to learn about the project, ask questions, and better understand how the renovations will impact their day-to-day life at J. Van Story Branch,” said Samantha Brown, Assistant Vice President of Real Estate Development. “As in any redevelopment project, the construction work will present challenges for residents, but the finished product will be a healthy, sustainable place for these residents to live.”
After closing, CHP will be undertaking a $72 million Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion on the property, which serves Baltimore’s senior and non-elderly disabled populations. These include replacing the building’s mechanical systems and roof, the installation of a new elevator, and significant upgrades to individual units and common areas.
The resident meetings opened with introductions of CHP staff members and representatives from the third-party architecture and construction firms. CHP previously worked with these contractors on Primrose Place Apartments, another Baltimore apartment community that serves a similar population and underwent a RAD conversion in 2017. At the meetings, J. Van Story Branch residents heard from Primrose residents and viewed a video about the Primrose renovations.
Jeff Hill, Project Executive with Southway Builders, discussed the scope of work. Each unit will have new doors, kitchens, baths, flooring, and windows. There will also be a new, controlled access entryway on the first floor and refurbished, accessible common areas. In addition to a new elevator, new lights, and a new security system, the building will also have laundry rooms on every floor.
Hill also explained the construction schedule and how to identify members of the construction crew, while Tyler Plante, Development Officer with CHP, gave details about how residents will temporarily relocate to different units in the same building during the construction. CHP will act on reasonable accommodation requests and provide moving assistance and packing supplies for residents.
Angie Roberts-Dobbins, Vice President for Resident Services at CHP, spoke about proposed resident services during construction and community room changes. She also introduced Zaida Reyes, who will be working with residents during the renovations. Next, Margaret Poitras, Regional Property Manager at CHP, discussed CHP’s role in taking over building management and shared about building security during the renovations.
Cassie O’Bryant, Senior Compliance Specialist at CHP, then explained the qualifying paperwork to residents and emphasized that any resident on a lease may remain in the building. While the ownership structure may be changing at J. Van Story Branch, residents will continue to pay rent based on their income according to standards set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Throughout the meetings, residents had an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. On Sept. 25-26, CHP also hosted one-on-one interviews with residents to better understand their individual needs and answer any additional questions. CHP will continue open communication with residents and project stakeholders during and after construction.