Lakeview & Bel Park TowersBaltimore, MD

The Challenge

Lakeview Towers and Bel Park Tower, two existing high rise “public housing” apartment communities in Baltimore City, MD, were built in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Lakeview Towers consists of 301 apartments in two high-rise towers and Bel Park is comprised of 254 apartments in one high-rise tower. While structurally sound, the towers had become inefficient and antiquated. In 2015, Landex formed a public/private partnership with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) to redevelop the two properties under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. As part of the RAD conversion, the properties had to comply with the federally court-ordered Bailey Consent Decree, which required the property to house both elderly (62 years of age and above) and non-elderly disabled persons. The properties were over 85% occupied.

The Plan

To meet the rehabilitation and management needs of the property, Landex devised a construction and relocation plan that would permit the renovation of all the major building systems (roofs, HVAC, windows, elevators, hot water heating systems, and entryway) and apartments (kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and balconies) while keeping all of the existing residents in place and housing them first before filling any vacant apartments.  This resulting Relocation Plan met all the requirements of the federal Uniform Relocation Act, as well as state and local regulations.

To help minimize disruption to residents, and consistent with Landex’s partnership approach, a Development/Management/Relocation Committee was formed to plan and monitor the renovation process. This committee was chaired by Landex and included members of the Bel Park and Lakeview Towers Resident Council boards, the HABC, the general contractor, and the management staff. In this way, residents were kept apprised of all activities in their community. Additionally, Landex created an intense Integrated Pest Management System (IPMS) to eradicate the serious infestation of bedbugs which, in addition to the regular treatments of apartments, included the washing of residents’ clothing and other personal items, regular education programs designed to destigmatize the problem so residents felt comfortable informing management of problems, and the purchase of new mattresses and mattress covers. Landex also created a community meeting area; an entertainment area with billiards, shuffle board, and other games; a Resident Council Office; a Wellness Center; and an outdoor recreation area. All renovations were consistent with the LEED Silver requirements.

The Result

The properties, which were completed on time and within budget, were able to retain 100% of the residents who were in good standing with their leases. The properties reduced their energy consumption by almost 30% and illegal activities were virtually eliminated. Finally, the bedbug infestation was eradicated within one year and has remained under control since then.