Renovations on troubled Eureka Gardens apartments could start next month

I-TEAM exposed issues at complex on Jacksonville's Westside three years ago

By Eric Wallace - Senior Producer, I-TEAM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three years after a code enforcement raid exposed numerous violations at the Eureka Gardens apartments on Jacksonville's Westside, the incoming owner of the property is detailing plans for a multi-million dollar renovation.  The renovation is expected to bring improvements to the conditions there, which have been the subject of a yearslong I-TEAM investigation.

Global Ministries Foundation, the Memphis-based nonprofit that owns Eureka Gardens and other complexes subsidized through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program, listed the property for sale more than two years ago.  Millennia Housing Development is in the process of buying Eureka Gardens and GMF’s 36 other Section 8 properties.  Millennia took over day-to-day management of the complex in February 2017, but their purchase has remained pending.

This week, representatives from Millennia met with residents at Eureka Gardens to outline the renovation process.  Company managers told the I-TEAM that while the closing process is still fluid, they expect to finalize the purchase on October 16 or 17.  If that takes place as scheduled, preparation work for construction would start by Nov. 1.

During the renovation process, apartments will be worked on in groups of 24.  Residents whose apartments are being renovated will live on the property in two buildings that are being renovated first and will be set up like a hotel with furnished rooms.  Residents' personal furniture and other belongings will be placed in portable storage units and stored off-site during the renovations.  Work on each group of 24 units is expected to take five weeks. 

The renovations will include new stairwells, new flooring, new cabinets, and new appliances in each of the units.  Millennia officials told the I-TEAM they will also construct new recreational facilities with gazebos and grills and expand the community center to include a workout facility and a computer room.

Last month, residents told the I-TEAM that they are still facing issues like gas leaks, sewage backups and mold.  Company representatives said the renovation process will include an assessment of those issues, and that Millennia will bring in the necessary resources to address the challenges.

The entire renovation process is expected to take 22 months, with an approximate cost of $17 million.  The complex will also get a new name, Valencia Way.

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