The Kensington Apartments, as they are currently known (but subject to change), are a perfect scenario for this vision to be fulfilled. For starters, this is a B-class complex with large rooms, ample parking, two pools, well-landscaped grounds, within walking distance to a transportation hub, adjacent to an elementary school and fully fenced.
The best feature of all is the day care center at the front of the property. This 8,161 square foot building was previously leased out and used as a day care facility. Going forward it will serve as the Community Center complete with a computer lab and library; classrooms where English will be taught free to residents; a subsidized day care with two existing playgrounds; a lounge and rec room; offices for counseling; a kitchen for group gatherings; and management offices. A large facility with such a functional layout is truly a magnificent asset for these circumstances.
There is also a large parcel of ground that is undeveloped. It is our intention to landscape this ground such that it can be used as a soccer field. One commonality that most refugees share is a love for soccer!
The 29-acre complex is completely fenced with electronic gates at all four entrances/exits providing for the security and wellbeing of the occupants.
Located in the Memphis area, is a very strong chapter of the non-profit organization known as World Relief that facilitates most all aspects of the refugee’s transition into the US. That transition includes finding the family a safe, yet affordable, place to live; six months of financial assistance (funded by the US government); securing employment for those of age; and continued support to ensure assimilation into their environment.
The renovation is set to begin in December 2016 with the first apartments being available in March 2017. It is anticipated the renovation of all 550 units will take slightly more than two years, depending upon resources, which will be sufficient to keep pace with the inflow of refugees. The first phase will prioritize the landscape, the community center and about 60 units.
This unique property and situation in Memphis made this possible. If the Kensington Apartments had tenants and were in reasonable condition, the complex would have sold within days of going on the market. As it stands, few investors are willing to take on such a project. This circumstance created a bargain that is necessary to make this situation viable.