New owners of troubled Fort Myers apartments promise home makeover to residents

An apartment complex in Fort Myers has been the home to bug infestation and rundown living conditions. A federal agency has even stepped in previously to inspect hazardous health conditions for residents. But new ownership may shine light on a space that has been a dark nightmare for people living there.

New owners of Jones Walker Palm Gardens apartments in Fort Myers are promising residents they will get new apartments.

“Last time, we got messed up on it,” Rakeem Harvin said. “I want to make sure they go through this time.”

Residents like Harvin have been given failed promises in the past, so they are cautious at getting their hopes up for the new promise makeover at Jones Walker.

Harvin has lived at the complex for over a year and lived in different apartments there to escape unlivable conditions.

“Crazy, we’ve been living like crazy out here with mold, mildew,” Harvin said. “I have moved from two units already.”

Redwood Housing, the new company that owns the complex, promises change. And many homeowners say they will believe it when they see it.

“You can tell us everything will be what we want to hear, but we want to see action,” tenant Lora Hardy said. “And if we don’t see action, who are we to trust if we’re not seeing action?”

The company said renovation will include central air, new drywall and flooring. A computer and fitness center will also by installed at the apartment complex.

During renovation, residents will be provided living situations convenient for them for about two to three months. The project is slated for the beginning of 2020.

These would be drastic changes compared to conditions we have reported on in the past. The complex previously earned a failing score with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development.

“We just need better. You know, with all this crime and all the stuff going on out here, we just need it more better out here for the little ones,” Hardy said.

Reporter:Jerrica Valtierra
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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