Residents gathered around Covington Mayor Joe Meyer Friday as $4.5 million in renovations to the 43-year-old Colony Apartments in Latonia were celebrated in the community.
“Have you survived the chaos of the last couple years?” Meyer asked.
The crowd responded with an enthusiastic, “yes!”
Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the low-income housing complex for senior citizens included health screenings, food trucks, a DJ, and a magic show.
Colony is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“In this chapter of their lives, our oldest residents deserve to live in a place they’re proud to call ‘home,’ a place that feels like community and that brings them peace and comfort,” Meyer said.
Renovations to the 137 apartments include new kitchens and bathrooms with new cabinetry, energy-efficient appliances, and lighting. The outside of the building was repainted, adding a new aesthetic to the old building.
The developer, New York-based Fairstead, replaced all the windows, roofs, and HVAC systems, as well as renovating the community room and business center. The outdoor area now features a new gazebo and landscaping improvements, such as new trees and plantings. Security measures at the property were fortified by adding new lighting and an improved camera system.
For longtime residents like Peggy Fugazzi, the completed renovations were a welcome sight. Fugazzi, 80, has lived in Colony for the past 14 years.
“It’s a lot better now,” Fugazzi said. “The hardwood floors are wonderful. They will be a lot easier to take care of.”
Fugazzi told LINK nky she considers her neighbors in the building to be family, and is happy the renovations will positively impact them.
According to Bobby Byrd, managing partner of development at Fairstead, renovations to the building were challenging, but well worth the investment.
Byrd said there were many “behind the wall” issues with the building, such as moisture problems and replacing the piping.
“It’s not something you can really see until you’re tearing into all the walls,” Byrd said.
Fairstead acquired Colony toward the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating an unusual hurdle. The communication aspect of the development required creative solutions.
“We acquired it right as the world was going crazy,” Byrd said. “We were trying to do in-person meetings, and we had chairs six feet apart and masks. We were trying to communicate with the residents to get to know them and understand.”
The renovation is a benefit to affordable housing in Covington, giving seniors access to improved facilities and enhanced social services that positively impact quality of life, Byrd said.
“Affordable housing for seniors has become a precious resource,” Byrd said. “We want our seniors to be able to age in place with dignity and live independently for as long as possible.”
Financing for the renovations came from Capital One and Boston Financial. The Kentucky Housing Corporation was also involved with the renovation by providing $662,000 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits and $13.5 million in tax exempt bonds.
“This project breathes new life into a 43-year-old building, providing Kenton County residents access to more affordable, safe, stable housing,” said Winston Miller, executive director and CEO of the Kentucky Housing Corporation.
The reopening comes as Fairstead works to complete a different $12 million renovation of the nearby Cambridge Square apartment complex, which they hope enhances the property’s affordability. Cambridge Square is comprised of 200 affordable apartments. The project includes renovations to the overall façade and building systems.