Franklin Road Facelift Underway
by Nikki Wiley
May 05, 2014 12:00 AM | 1274 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print

MARIETTA — A Franklin Road landlord says the city’s redevelopment efforts on the corridor inspired him to purchase and remodel an aging apartment complex.

Liberty Pointe apartments, formerly known as Ashton Place, was unveiled at a grand opening ceremony last month at the complex at 707 Franklin Road.

David Baker, president of Atlanta-based Investors Realty Group, said his company was encouraged by the city’s campaign for a $68 million bond issuance to finance the revitalization on Franklin Road. The group purchased the complex in August 2013, four months before voters approved the bond allowing the City Council to purchase and tear down aging apartment complexes along the corridor.

Since then, the 181-unit, 15-acre rental community has undergone a multimillion dollar renovation, including new roofing, windows and siding. Interior renovations have also been completed, including new cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, flooring and appliances.

“We bought it because we really like what’s happening on Franklin Road,” Baker said.

Operated by First Communities Management of Atlanta, Liberty Pointe offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units with rent ranging from $695 to $999.

The company has also revamped other metro area apartment complexes, including the Carlyle of Sandy Springs, which, according to First Communities Management of Atlanta’s website, had the highest crime rate in Sandy Springs before it was purchased by the management group.

Baker is already seeing “better quality” residents coming through the doors of the complex’s leasing office.

“They have better credit scores, a higher income,” Baker said.

He declined to say how much the complex was purchased for, but Cobb County Tax Assessor records show the community was valued at $280,794 under its previous owner, Franklin Walk Associates.

Two other complexes were purchased by the city under the redevelopment bond at the end of last year, totaling $20 million, including the 386-unit, 25.2-acre Woodlands Park complex and the 348-unit, 24.3-acre Flagstone Village Apartments.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said he always expected seven apartment communities would survive the city’s revitalization project. Franklin Road apartments are seen as being low quality, breeding high crime and experiencing high occupancy turnover, but Tumlin said it’s possible to find an exception to the rule.

“It wasn’t a condemnation of all 15 apartment complexes,” Tumlin said.

Tumlin will cut the ribbon at the grand opening and said he is excited to see “the good ones surviving.”

“I think apartment complexes can be as good as a good landlord, and these people have invested in their asset,” Tumlin said.

Baker agrees and said the city’s redevelopment, planned improvements to the corridor’s streetscape and an improving rental market are setting the stage for lasting revitalization. Apartment complexes don’t have to fall into disrepair, he said, if landlords preserve their quality.

“If the rental market is strong, owners want to invest more money into the properties and maintain them to collect a higher rent,” Baker said.

If a quality product exists, good renters will follow, Baker said.

“(Franklin Road) is already better than it was two years ago, and in two years, it will be even better than it is now,” Baker said.

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