Two aging apartment complexes on Richmond Road across from Idle Hour Shopping Center have been bought by a national real estate firm with plans to renovate the 244 units.
Kenwick Place and Canterbury Place sold for $6.8 million to Resource Real Estate, a national real estate firm that owns and manages approximately 22,000 apartment units.
"We're excited to be in the Lexington market. Lexington is a city with good growth characteristics," Alan Feldman, chief executive officer of Resource Real Estate, said Thursday. The Richmond Road corridor between Shriners Hospitals for Children and New Circle Road is an area "on the rebound," he said.
The sale of the two apartment complexes was finalized Wednesday. Feldman said his company had not had time "to determine the depth of upgrades we will make to the property. We are still finalizing our plans."
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At a minimum, Resource Real Estate has budgeted $3 million for deferred maintenance, including cleaning the apartments, club house, swimming pool and fitness center.
"It seems like a great opportunity for us to clean it up, provide expert management and make it an asset to the community," Feldman said.
Rent will increase, but not dramatically, he said. "Basically, we will keep the tenants who are there but clean up the property and run it much better."
Resource Real Estate typically invests in infill locations near high-income areas that are centrally located, Feldman said, and these two complexes fit that profile.
The company has previously owned property in Lexington, Feldman said. It bought the Chinoe Creek Apartments about eight years ago. They were sold three years ago, he said.
Fifth District Councilman Bill Farmer, who represents that stretch of Richmond Road, said he welcomed the new ownership, but "if they come in and don't do enough to change the look, the feel, the nature, the character over there, I'm afraid we're in for a long loop play for where we already are."
Not to say that $3 million isn't a lot of money, Farmer said, "but there is a lot of density over there, and we've all become aware that that density doesn't necessarily go to quality of life."
The apartments, built in 1969, have "great bones. A new roof line would help, certainly," Farmer said. "But, there's probably got to be new wiring, new utilities, a lot of work done on parking lots. Some of those things can't be fixed; they need to be redone. I don't want the new owners to come in with too shallow of a budget."
Farmer said there was a real "break point where that whole area changes, positively and dramatically, more than if they just dribble some money on it."
The sale of these two complexes is the latest in a string of developments over the past 18 months along the general area of the Richmond Road corridor:
■ Southland Christian Church opened a satellite campus in early January on the site of the long-vacant Lexington Mall.
■ The abandoned, boarded-up Pennington Place apartment complex at 245 Codell Drive, once plagued by crime, vagrants and fire, is being transformed into an upscale property by the Barrington Group of Sarasota, Fla., and the Metzger and Co. of Atlanta. The companies paid $2.1 million for the dilapidated property and plan to spend $18 million on a complete makeover.
■ The rundown Sonnet Cove Apartments on Lake tower Drive were bought in March 2011 by real estate developer Allen Schubert, a Lexington native who lives in Louisville. Schubert tore down about half the 340 units and is redeveloping the remaining units into luxury apartments.
■ Coba Cocina, a sit-down, full-service restaurant that is an infill project on part of the parking lot of the Idle Hour Shopping Center, opens Monday. It is owned by developers and businessmen Phil and Lee Greer.
Lee Greer said, "That's fantastic," when told of the sale of the apartments.
"I am so happy to see this corridor being revived," he said.
Al Isaac, owner of NAI Isaac Commerical Properties, whose company manages the Idle Hour Shopping Center, said renovating the apartment complexes across the street would benefit the 20 or so retail establishments in the strip mall.
"It's great news for this part of town," he said.