$11M renovation transforms Trendwood to Riverside Apartments

Politics


The former Trendwood Apartments in East Waco officially reopened Wednesday as the Riverside Apartments, undergoing a more than year-long, $11 million overhaul.

Built in 1963 at 1700 Dallas Circle, the apartments that offered subsidies through the federal Section 8 program had fallen into disrepair in recent years. The city filed a code enforcement lawsuit against the previous owners in 2019 that resulted in $50,000 in fines before repairs brought the property back into compliance.







Riverside resident Benita Gaines, who grew up in the apartments before the renovation, said she likes it a lot more under the new owners and appreciates the new safety measures that came with the renovations.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald


During a ribbon cutting Wednesday, City Council member Andrea Barefield said her mother, former Waco Mayor Mae Jackson, lived in Trendwood before she married Barefield's father.

“I have many happy memories here, but the complex was neglected for many years under the previous owners,” Barefield said.

Denver-based Steele Properties LLC purchased the complex in 2022, carrying out a project financed through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program that totaled nearly $28 million, including the initial purchase of $9.1 million from the property. The renovated 152-unit Riverside Apartments complex is now under the management of Monroe Group, which is affiliated with Steele.

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“This is more than a renovation,” Barefield said. “We are giving dignity back to the people who live here. We now offer safe, comfortable and beautiful homes.”







Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Leaders from Monroe Group, the new owners of Riverside Apartments, give a tour of a renovated unit Wednesday.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald


Ebony Davis, who lived at Trendwood as a teenager, has been the property manager for the past 14 months while the renovation unfolded. The complex has new roofs, plumbing, switch boxes, circuit breakers, heating, air conditioning, flooring, cabinets, windows and paint. The overhaul also added security measures, including cameras, that have made residents feel safer, Davis said.

Riverside continues to have a contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide Section 8 housing subsidies to tenants directly, rather than using a voucher-based process.

The renovation finished 60 days ahead of schedule, ending in September instead of the planned November completion date. Crews tackled a few apartments at a time, and residents were temporarily moved into hotels or offered a stipend for other housing while their apartment was under construction.

The work was also completed on budget, said Justin Unger, director of acquisitions for Steele Properties.

“We spent $11 million on the renovation,” Unger said. “We had to do more work than we expected on the sanitary sewers and we used up our reserve.”







Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Community members and representatives from Steel Properties and Monroe Group gather for the ribbon cutting event Wednesday at Riverside Apartments.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald


In a presentation to city council in 2022, the company broke down the cost of the project at $27.8 million with $9.1 million for purchase; $6 million for commissions, bookings and soft costs; $2 million for financing costs; and $10.5 million for renovation.

During Wednesday's ceremony, Riverside resident Benita Gaines, who grew up in the complex and returned a few years ago, said the new security measures have made her feel safer.

“We were concerned about the bullets flying around,” Gaines said. “Not anymore, not since the new owners put in the talking security cameras. Whenever someone who doesn't belong here does something they're not supposed to do, the camera will say, 'vacate the premises, they've been called to the police.” And a few minutes later, two or three law enforcement cars will pull up.”

Gaines said there used to be a lot of fights at the resort, but not anymore.

“When I first moved here six years ago, it wasn't safe to sit outside, especially not at night,” Gaines said. “Since the new owners took over, I now feel safe sitting on my porch until midnight or 1 a.m.”

One of Gaines' neighbors, Beaulah Johnson, said the complex had pests before the Monroe Group took over.

“Now the rats and roaches are gone,” Johnson said. “And it's quiet, so I can sleep better.”

Another resident, Ray Davis, also said the fight has been cleared. He also praised the renovation of the flats.

“When I first moved here, there were things falling from the ceilings,” Davis said. “Now it's livable.”







Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

McLennan County Justice of the Peace 2 James Lee Jr. opens Wednesday's ceremony with stories from his time growing up in the complex now known as the Riverside Apartments.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Community members and representatives from Steel Properties and Monroe Group gather for the ribbon cutting event Wednesday at Riverside Apartments.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Milet Hopping, CEO of the Waco Housing Authority, speaks during Wednesday's ceremony about restoring dignity to Riverside residents with renovations and safety improvements.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Community members and representatives from Steel Properties and Monroe Group gather for the ribbon cutting event Wednesday at Riverside Apartments.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

A ceremony Wednesday officially unveiled Riverside Apartments, the new name for the former Trendwood Apartments after an $11 million overhaul under new ownership.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

A ceremony Wednesday officially unveiled Riverside Apartments, the new name for the former Trendwood Apartments after an $11 million overhaul under new ownership.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

A ceremony Wednesday officially unveiled Riverside Apartments, the new name for the former Trendwood Apartments after an $11 million overhaul under new ownership.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

A ceremony Wednesday officially unveiled Riverside Apartments, the new name for the former Trendwood Apartments after an $11 million overhaul under new ownership.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Community members and representatives from Steel Properties and Monroe Group gather for the ribbon cutting event Wednesday at Riverside Apartments.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Community members and representatives from Steel Properties and Monroe Group gather for the ribbon cutting event Wednesday at Riverside Apartments.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Leaders from Monroe Group, the new owners of Riverside Apartments, give a tour of a renovated unit Wednesday.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Leaders from Monroe Group, the new owners of Riverside Apartments, give a tour of a renovated unit Wednesday.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald








Dedication of the new Riverside apartments

Community members and representatives from Steel Properties and Monroe Group gather for the ribbon cutting event Wednesday at Riverside Apartments.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald




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