The Lenox Park apartment complex has been purchased by an Atlanta firm for $22 million.
Lenox Park will be renamed the Peaks at Gainesville by new owner Audubon Communities, a real estate firm in Georgia’s capital that specializes in apartment complexes.
The company cited Gainesville’s economic and population growth as its reason to buy the property and invest almost $3 million in upgrades in the area.
Myles Cunningham, Audubon’s vice president of acquisitions, called Gainesville a “highly desirable market.”
“Lenox Park was a quality property in a great location,” he said in the Friday announcement. “It was an attractive investment, and we believe the renamed Peaks at Gainesville will be a big success.”
The company plans to renovate the leasing office, pool and other common areas, add a fitness center, expand the existing playground, add new siding to the apartment buildings, install new lighting, paint and signs, and improve drainage and landscaping.
The renovations will not displace the current tenants, said Gary Tanner, a spokesman for Audubon Communities. They’ll begin in the fall and take 12 to 15 months to complete.
Lenox Park was built in 2000, according to the announcement, and its apartments are an average 1,100 square feet between two and three bedrooms.
Rents currently range from $810 to $1,120 a month based on the number of bedrooms. At least one apartment rental website has already changed the name of the property to Peaks at Gainesville.
The complex has historically served lower income residents of Gainesville, and the area has struggled with crime and gang activity in the past.
Joe Amerling is a former gang investigator with the Gainesville Police Department who was involved in anti-gang operations in Lenox Park.
He said the area had drug and gang activity but was improving when he left the department in April 2016.
“We never had a lot of (gang) activity in the apartments,” Amerling said. “It was more toward the (nearby) houses.”
Gainesville police did seize about 9 pounds of methamphetamine from an apartment in the complex in 2014.
Shila Akbari has lived in the complex for more than two years with her four sons. She said the area feels safe, but that the apartments themselves have been deteriorating.
Akbari works for a poultry processor and lives in the complex because it’s near child care and school. She relocated to Gainesville from Atlanta.
“If something broke down, they don’t fix it for us,” Akbari said of the previous management. “The apartment mice before – they ate my furniture, I (had to) throw it away. I kept calling, calling after two months, three months to send something. But they don’t do nothing.”
About two days ago, she was told by the front office that the complex had changed owners. Now, she’s hoping for improvements to the complex.
In a statement about the area’s history, Audubon Communities Manager Director Christopher Edwards said the company will take security of the area seriously.
“Audubon Communities is committed to providing a safe environment for all our residents at The Peaks at Gainesville and being good neighbors in the community,” Edwards said. “Our staff is expert at effectively vetting applications, providing a secure environment and strictly enforcing the terms of our leases to make sure the property is a safe, desirable, family friendly place to live. One component of operations at The Peaks at Gainesville will be patrols of the property by courtesy officers, who will typically be off-duty police officers.”