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Ballston residents panicking over building renovation notice

August 30, 2010 - 05:06 PM
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Ballston Apartment Building
Residents may soon be shifting apartments within this Ballston building. (Photo: TBD Staff)

News that residents at one of Ballston's older apartment buildings received notice that they'd have to vacate their apartments temporarily for renovations has sparked a mild panic, and a blog, in search of answers. 

Some residents of 1020 North Quincy Street — you've seen the building, across from the Central Library, with its incongruous azure balconies and Jetsons-reminiscent front carport — have lived there since it opened in 1963. (Back then, the angular roof over the building's entryway must have been cutting edge.)

Other units within the building will be available for tenants to move into during the renovations, according to the notice. Still, not everyone is psyched about the prospect of packing up belongings; some went to great lengths to describe the inconvenience. "I cannot believe that I am to pack up everything in my apartment — including 40 boxes of books, not to mention shelves of glassware and pottery and pictures on the walls..." one anonymous commenter on the residents' blog writes.

"They are telling people on the 10th floor that they are going to have to move all of their things in the next two months? Shame on management for letting somebody new move in to the 10th floor without telling them about the renovations," writes another commenter.

Building manager Irum Unseri tells TBD that residents, "especially the elderly residents," will be given assistance in moving by the management company. Packing services however, are not included in that offer.

The management company, RESI Management, may also offer the option for residents to stay in the new unit they relocate to during renovations, to allow for just one move instead of two, she adds.

Tenants are also worried about the rent increases that will follow the renovations. Increases for current lessees will be between $125 and $150, Unseri says. Rents for the newly renovated apartments for new tenants will likely increase more, however. Rent in the building is currently on the low side for the area, with a typical one bedroom going for $1,400 per month and a two bedroom/one bath for $1,700.

The company will not try to standardize rents across the building once the renovations are complete, Unseri says. "For existing residents, especially those that have been here for awhile, we will definitely consider that they are exceptional cases," she says. The maximum increase for existing residents will be $150. 

Unseri acknowledges that "people are panicking" about the notice, but stressed that the changes do not mean any tenants will be forced to move out of the building. "People are saying to me, 'probably we will have to move,'" she says. "It's their apartment, they do not have to move out."

"This is a positive change for everyone in the building," she says. "They will basically be brand new apartments."

She says the renovations will include a complete overhaul, including new floors, kitchen counters and cabinets, appliances, closets, and bathrooms.

It doesn't mean, however, that the retro facade will be a thing of the past. Exterior changes would have meant a great deal more money to fix up the building, and so the carport is there to stay.

Complete this story: We couldn't find any residents around in the middle of this August afternoon. Do you live in the building? How are you planning to deal with the inconvenience? Contact me at racooper@tbd.com to fill in this story.

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