Low-income high-rise in Newport News to get makeover

Low-income high-rise

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Towers Apartments, a 140-unit high-rise off Ivy Avenue, will be renovated after Newport News City Council unanimously approved the purchase of the building Tuesday.

The resolution allows Weston Associates to purchase the property and requires the developer to spend at least $10 million in renovations.

About 60 residents of the high-rise arrived at the meeting in a bus, organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, to make sure their voices were heard.

“Everything works. The plugs work. The lights work. It’s just old; 1970s stuff in there. The renovations will be great,” says Hazel Banks.

Andrew Shannon, SCLC, says he rallied the residents together after comments from City Manager Jim Bourey and Mayor McKinley Scott opposing the renovation project.

“We want to take a position, when you come against the elderly and the disabled citizens of Newport News, we are not going to remain silent,” says Shannon.

Vice Mayor Tina Vick, who opposed the renovations originally, said Tuesday she was “pleased” with the plans the developer presented at a work session before the regularly scheduled meeting.

Bourey says the preliminary plans, as presented by Weston Associates, calls for “top-to-bottom” improvements including, new floors, carpets, appliances, a heating and air conditioning system and a new lobby with extra security measures.

“This is going to remain a low-income housing project. It’s going to remain a tower, at least for the next 18 years. Why not make it a place that’s going to be nicer for them to live?” says Bourey.

The resolution approved Tuesday allows the developer to cash in on $16 million in tax-exempt bonds, according to Bourey, who says the developer will also qualify for state funding for rehabbing a low-income housing structure.

Bourey says no city funds will be used for the project.

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