Published: Jun 16, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jun 16, 2012 04:13 PM
CARRBORO - Town officials and residents are waiting to see what a Massachusetts company will do now that it owns 252 units at Abbey Court Condominiums.
The roughly 20-acre complex on Jones Ferry Road is now Collins Crossing.
Brenda Wishart, a national supervisor with Aspen Square Management, was on site this week to inspect the property. Details of how to “transform” the complex are being ironed out, she said.
“We want people to feel proud they live here,” Wishart said.
According to county documents, Aspen Square partner Alcurt Realty Group Inc. paid nearly $7.1 million, or roughly $28,125 per unit, on June 7 to Tar Heel Companies of Raleigh.
The remaining 82 condominiums are still privately owned.
Tar Heel Companies Vice President Tina Grabus and President and CEO Kenneth Lucas did not return calls seeking comment.
The rent now for a two-bedroom apartment at Collins Crossing is about $525, Wishart said. She could not say if the rent would go up.
Aspen Square, based in Springfield, Mass., owns more than 90 properties across the nation, including Berkshire Manor and Berkshire Manor West in Carrboro and Ashford Lakes in Hillsborough. Two-bedroom units at those complexes run $730 to $829 per month.
Nespa Operating Group and former Berkshires manager Lora Perry will run the complex.
Abbey Court’s diverse population of mostly Latinos and Burmese immigrants has complained for years about poor management and living conditions, excessive rules and discrimination.
In January, the Carrboro-Chapel Hill Human Rights Center, established at Abbey Court in 2009, moved to Barnes Street. The center clashed repeatedly with Abbey Court management, and the Homeowners Association voted last year to evict the center.
HRC officials, town leaders and residents said they hope the sale means positive change.
Mayor Mark Chilton said he doesn’t know a lot about Aspen Square but is looking “forward to establishing a good relationship with the new management company.”
“I think we’d just like to see any renovations that happen, happen in a way that doesn’t squeeze people out of our community,” he said.
HRC intern Eric Eikenberry said he is “cautiously optimistic” after meeting the managers and letting them know the center wants to build good relations.
“They seemed very aware that the previous management was substandard in addressing the needs of the residents,” Eikenberry said.
Sebastian Sibrian said he, his wife and two sons welcome any improvements. The lights outside their building don’t work, making it unsafe at night. Inside, the appliances need major repairs, and the utilities occasionally work.
“Before, the company was no good,” Sibrian said. “And there are too many roaches.”
Resident Amanda Ashley suggested a tenants’ group to foster communication and cooperation.
Wishart said management is meeting the residents and gathering “more than our fair share of work orders.”
“All we ask in return is that they take pride and take care of the community,” she said.