It will take approximately two years and nearly $15,000 per unit to transform the 2,113 units of the Shirley-Duke and Regina apartments from low-income units to a moderate-income apartment complex, according to one of the new owners.
Brian Gordon, who was one of the original owners when Shirley-Duke was built in 1949, said he and his partner Morton Sarubin plan to convert the complex as soon as they receive HUD approval for a federally insured, low-interest $54.4 million loan to improve the apartments.
"They (HUD officials) have indicated grant commitment without question, but the decision has not come out yet," said Gordon.
A HUD spokesman said he had told Gordon and his partners that "there were no major problems," but the official added that it still could be several months before final HUD approval is granted.
Once Gordon and his partner receive approval of the 9 percent interest loan, Gordon said two apartments will be immediately rehabilitated to "work out the bugs" before they begin the entire renovation project.
Gordon said the completed project will have seven swimming pools and seven tennis courts plus a clubhouse.
"I remember back when it didn't cost as much to build apartments. Now you must add the extra amenities because people want them. It used to be that people just wanted a roof over their heads," said Gordon.
The 65-year-old builder, who said he has been in business for the past 40 years, said he owned the complex from the time it was first constructed until 1964 when "the mortgage prinicpal and taxes were so high they were eating away the profits."
Last year, Gordon and Sarubin bought the project, which was losing money and was plagued by crime and vandalism.
Gordon says he will prevent the problems that once occurred in the complex by increasing the cost of living there and by "enforcing the rules."
"If you let one person get away with breaking the rules then everyone else will," said Gordon, who added that more than 100 people already have indicated they want to live there because "they know I'm going to be running it."
Vello Oinas, the architect who is redesigning the complex, said a number of windows will be eliminated from the old-story structures and where there are flat roofs,an additional story and pitched roof will be added.
According to Oinas, many of two-bedroom units will be converted to one-bedroom apartments and one bedroom apartments will become efficiencies.
The proposed rents, not including utilities, range from $230 for one bedroom to $480 for a two-bedroom unit with a den, according to a HUD report.
Rents, without utilities, had ranged from $159 for one-bedroom units to $265 for three-bedroom units.