Mountain View Voice

News - May 28, 2010

Evandale complex invigorated

Neighbors like buyer's plan to upgrade run-down apartments

by Daniel DeBolt

The large, run-down apartment complex at 291 Evandale Ave. may no longer be a headache for neighbors thanks to a City Council-approved plan.

San Francisco's Bay West Realty Capital, LLC has purchased the apartment complex, which was once home to over 200 people. Their plans to extensively renovate the existing buildings were unanimously approved by the council on May 11.

"This corner will suddenly be an attractive corner," said Mayor Ronit Bryant. "It will be possible to walk by without getting heartburn."

Neighbors say crime has declined significantly in the neighborhood ever since the 64-unit "Summerhill" apartment complex became vacant several years ago. Rents were among the lowest in the city, and code inspectors found mold, broken staircase railings and rodent infestation, among other problems.

The previous owner, Sal Teresi, was able to get council approval to build 144 condos on the site in 2007, but apparently could not get funding for the project, which left the 16 buildings vacant.

Bay West Realty plans to make numerous improvements to the buildings, including installing new dry wall, dual-pane windows, new cabinets and fixtures, and drought-tolerant landscaping. The pool will be filled in and replaced with new recreation facilities, including an outdoor kitchen and a bocce ball court.

After meeting with Bay West Realty about the plans, neighbors said they were pleased.

Nearby residents had opposed a previous plan to renovate the complex for affordable housing. After that plan failed, Teresi tried to quickly renovate and rent out the buildings, which the city stopped after discovering that the work was being done without permits. When Teresi sold the property to Bay West Realty, the neighbors were relieved.

After all the trouble, neighbor Gary Rosen said of the new plan, "I think we've come up with a good solution."

Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Association president Lisa Matichak also expressed support for the project

"We really like what we've heard from Bay West," Matichak said. "We encourage the City Council to approve their plans and we welcome our new neighbors."

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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