Housing developer, Vitus, has set out to renovate and preserve the 100-unit Westlake Apartments. They are 40 percent finished with the project and hoping to complete the renovation by the end of 2019 according to Michael Volz, Vitus’ Director of Development Management.
“Our team specializes in protecting and extending the life of properties in competitive markets like Savannah where there is a real need for affordable housing,” Samantha Cullen, Development Manager for Vitus said.
Vitus has already taken on similar projects. They currently own 11,000 properties across the US. In Georgia, they own five properties, including one in Gainesville.
“In Georgia there’s been a lot of growth and we want to provide quality affordable housing for a long time,” Volz said.
The company has invested $6.9 million in the apartments in order to completely remodel them after the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew.
These funds will cover numerous interior and exterior improvements such as full kitchen and bathroom remodels, new flooring, upgrades to the laundry facility, sidewalk, a new community building and more, according to a press release from the company.
Vitus is also committed to environmentally friendly construction and housing, upgrades will include high-efficiency lighting packages, low-E coated windows, and ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances.
They also worked with the Savannah Tree Foundation to plant 70 trees throughout the property. This green initiative is meant to enhance the natural environment of the property and reduce the threat of flood damage.
In the event that a catastrophe such as Hurricane Matthew is to happen again, Vitus “is committed to making repairs and making sure [the apartments] stay functional,” Volz said. The Westlake Apartments contain ten 1-bedroom units, fifty-six 2-bedroom units, 30 3-bedroom units, and four 4-bedroom units.
Through US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Section 8, which provide affordable housing through a contract with them, tenants will pay 30 percent of their income and the rest will be covered by their contract. There is also a current waitlist for available units in Westlake.
“We’re excited to go in and revitalize [Westlake] and make sure it’s high quality and the tenants see the benefit of it for 20 to 30 years,” Volz said.