Residents take pride in their homes at The Enclave at Meridian in Indianapolis. But it wasn’t always like that.
Jenice Myers, development services manager for Indianapolis-based Herman & Kittle Properties, had been brought to tears by the poor living conditions at the property during her first visit five years ago. But she can now smile because after a complete $3.776 million gut-rehab, the property boasts 93 percent occupancy and residents who have built a vibrant community.
“This is great,” she says. “I can remember when I wouldn’t even come in here without a hard hat.”
Herman & Kittle works in partnership with the owner of the property, Bethlehem House, to offer residents an affordable and healthy living environment. Nathan Rush, executive director of Bethlehem House, says it was a tough renovation and a difficult first year.
“We had some growing pains in the first year and they’ve calmed down since then,” he says.
Supportive services weren’t the issue at The Enclave. Bethlehem House, a local substance abuse treatment organization, had that covered.
The larger concern for The Enclave was getting all of the units up and running. The original site was composed of three buildings covered in graffiti and filled with units that had been pieced together with a mixture of parts and finishes.
“Each unit was different,” Myers says. “It was awful.”
The smallest building, which was boarded up but still had residents trying to live in it, was knocked down and converted into a gated parking area. The other two buildings, which were purchased separately, had residents that needed to be relocated during construction. One of the buildings was less than 58 percent occupied, the other was vacant.
After a reopening in Jan. 2012, with 75 fully renovated units, Rush is happy to say the struggle was well worth it.
Bethlehem House offers resources to residents from an office within one of the community’s buildings and although not everyone needs services, about 30 percent of the property’s residents stop in to speak with the organization’s on-site representative. But the services go much deeper than just substance abuse.
“We also have resources for HIV patients and we help all residents develop living skills,” Rush says. “We realized after the first year that people here needed more than just substance abuse services. Some needed help with personal finance and some residents had never had their own place before, so they had to learn to live on their own. So, we help with that too.”
Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.