Google Ads help pay the expense of maintaining this site

Click Here for the Neighborhood Transformation Website

Fair Use Disclaimer

Neighborhood Transformation is a nonprofit, noncommercial website that, at times, may contain copyrighted material that have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It makes such material available in its efforts to advance the understanding of poverty and low income distressed neighborhoods in hopes of helping to find solutions for those problems. It believes that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Persons wishing to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of their own that go beyond 'fair use' must first obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Miami Herald - Jul. 25, 2004

Apartments due for big changes

The Opa-locka Community Development Corp. has purchased a 421-unit apartment complex in North Central Dade and plans a multimillion-dollar overhaul.

By Trenton Daniel

Kimberly Everett and her boyfriend used to count four to five burglarized cars a week in the parking lot of their apartment complex between late last year and March.

The 26-year-old mother hopes the security situation will improve now that new owners have taken over the Westview Terrace Apartments in North Central Dade.

''That's really good,'' Everett, who has been staying with her mother Beatrice McQueen in the complex, said when she heard about pending renovations that include heightened security.

The Opa-locka Community Development Corp., a North Dade nonprofit, recently purchased the apartments for $11.25 million from the Westview Terrace Apartments, a subsidiary of Bank of America that acquired the property in November 1999.

Citibank provided $9.56 million to the first mortgage, and Local Initiatives Support Corp. of New York will provide $1 million for the second mortgage.

A multimillion-dollar refurbishing project will soon follow.

''This is the Opa-locka CDC's next step in building our community,'' said Willie Logan, the CDC president and a candidate for County Commission seat No. 1. ``One of the goals of the Opa-locka CDC is to provide quality and affordable housing for the residents of the North Dade Community. As owners of Westview, we are able to provide that and more.''

The 421-unit, 175,982-square-foot multifamily housing apartment complex -- which is twice the size of any previous acquisition by the CDC -- comprises six garden-style buildings and a community center for children.

Its current market value is around $14.5 million, Logan said.

Along with the acquisition of the property at 12501 NW 27th Ave., the CDC plans to rehabilitate the overall infrastructure. The place was built in 1967, public records show.

The CDC will apply to different agencies for money -- estimated to be around $3 million -- to upgrade the plumbing, roofing and landscaping over the next two years, Logan said.

The money will also pay for improved security, including the installation of cameras and better lighting. The property's numerous trees will also be maintained so as not to provide a hiding place for suspicious characters.

Well before the deal was sealed in April, the CDC was already familiar with the property. The group has run the ''Make a Difference'' center at the complex for the past three years. The center offers academic and community activities for children 6 to 18. In addition to after-school services, the center runs a summer camp for the children of tenants.

Logan said residents will now benefit from having ``a local owner who lives and is invested in the community and whose projects are helping the community.''

The complex was sold in 1985 for $6.44 million to Westview Apartments. Officials of the firm at that time were Claude Dorsey and James R. Mitchell. In 1995, WHUD Real Estate filed foreclosure proceedings against Westview. By the time litigation was over, a final judgment had reached $12.8 million.

WHUD became the plaintiff in the case by buying the mortgage from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, which had insured the loan. The cost came close to $4.7 million. As an inducement to buy the loan, WHUD was given a full release from all regulatory agreements. WHUD sold the complex to the Atlanta-based Westview Terrace Apartments, a subsidiary of Bank of America, for $8 million, with the bank providing $7 million of the financing in November 1999.

Despite the past problems, Stephanie Williams-Baldwin, the CDC's senior vice president of projects, was confident the apartment complex could be saved.

''We thought this was in a condition that it could be saved,'' Williams-Baldwin said.

Residents like Everett hope the new owners will take greater interest in them and interact with them more.

''They need to do more than give us fliers,'' Everett said. ``They need to interact more with the tenants. . . . It'll make it more of a family atmosphere.''

Williams-Baldwin said residents can be assured of closer contact, and they will receive a questionnaire seeking feedback in the next 90 days. The CDC held a meet-and-greet session July 17 with food and music for tenants.

''We're looking for a good marriage between the CDC and the tenants,'' Williams-Baldwin said. ``We are looking forward to having a very good working relationship with the tenants