In 2017, SAA | EVI acquired Essex Village, an existing 496-unit, 100% Section 8 property in Henrico County, Virginia. Essex was suffering from a lack of investment under the previous ownership and was placed in Housing and Urban Development’s Special Asset Management Division. Our strong reputation with HUD – due to our previous experience turning around troubled assets – and our relationship with the previous ownership team, made us uniquely qualified to turn around this property. After acquiring the property, SAA | EVI commenced a two-year process of completing life and safety repairs while preparing for a more robust substantial renovation plan. In honor of Maggie Lena Walker, celebrated businesswoman and the first African-American woman to charter a bank, the property was renamed St. Luke Apartments, the name she used for many of her entrepreneurial endeavors.
In 2019, SAA | EVI closed on a $110 million dollar renovation program which would involve the complete overhaul of all units as well as the construction of a new community center, roadways, fencing, security drive lanes, and the formation of a highly involved tenant organization. To date, St. Luke Apartment is the largest 4% LIHTC and Tax-Exempt Bond transaction in Virginia history.
Community Engagement: SAA | EVI actively encourages tenants to form organizations in order to increase their sense of community ownership and keep tenants informed of property upkeep. When SAA | EVI acquired St. Luke Apartments we worked with a non-profit partner to establish building captains allowing for more effective communication between St. Luke Apartments’ 46 residential buildings and property management. The building captains coalesced into a tenant council with distinct leadership. The tenant council provides an organized way for tenants to communicate directly to ownership about issues critical to them and to discuss events they want to see happen in the community. One such event at St. Luke Apartments has been a regular, site-based summer camp for children.