Pine Hills apartment complex reopens after foreclosure

$20 million renovation for Emerald Villas Apartments

ORLANDO, Fla. - An apartment complex in the Pine Hills has undergone some major changes the complex owners hope will attract new tenants.

Emerald Villas Apartments, once known as Seville Place Apartments, held its grand reopening Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs was in attendance at the event, along with members from the development group and the city who helped fund the project.

The renovations have been a year in the making, after the property was in foreclosure for many years.

The complex got a much needed facelift, including new flooring, roofing, plumbing in each of the 264 units and landscaping. Tenants also have new amenities like a clubhouse with pool, classrooms, and a business center.

Deborah Jones has lived here since October. She says the complex was known for having a bad reputation.

"Fighting, shooting, police were always in here. It was drug infested, but you don't see all that now," says Jones.

With the help of a $7 million dollar federal loan, Orange County, the Related Development Group and the Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corporation were able to buy what was a mostly vacant property.

The total cost of renovations was around $20 million.

The apartments are all rent restricted and range in price from $461 for studios up to $782 for three bedrooms.

This is Leroy Sewer's first experience living in an apartment. So far, he says its been a good one, but hopes that new management and residents will keep it that way.

"I feel happy, I feel happy with what I see. I hope the new residents that come in here will try to keep it up and not let the place fall," he said.

So far the apartment complex says more than half of the 264 units are occupied, but they expect to be full in April.

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