CINCINNATI, OH - United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, executives from Villages at Roll Hill's owners and from Wallick, Roll Hill's developer and manager, and others marked the community's grand reopening with a ribbon cutting celebration.
"I'm thrilled to be here today with all of you to celebrate the exceptional work that's been done on this project. Real change requires not just new buildings, but a broader transformation built on partnership with and leadership and capital from the private sector – and that's what we're seeing here today at the Villages at Roll Hill," said United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan.
The rehabilitation of the Villages at Roll Hill, formerly Fay Apartments, is a $36 million, 27-month long project to be complete in late December. The work is ahead of schedule and under budget. The renovations include reducing the number of apartments to 703 – a reduction of 190.
"Safe and decent housing is a right for everyone. Safe and decent housing also helps create strong neighborhoods. Without strong neighborhoods and their committed residents, our city cannot grow and thrive," said Vice Mayor Qualls. "This renovation has been a big job and a great economic development generator. It has supported 252 jobs and created more than $2 million in local taxes over the past 27 months."
Renovations of each apartment included: window and door replacements, kitchen and bath modernizations, furnace replacements, adding central air conditioning and complete roof replacements. In addition, security was upgraded with additional cameras, increased on-site security staff and installation of perimeter fencing.
"We all know, home is about family. And for 46 years, it has been my family's business to provide people of all means a safe and decent place to live. My sister and I are proud to carry on this tradition, with the help of our team. I especially want to acknowledge the extraordinary work of our colleagues Dave and Brian Hendy, in putting this project together and the leadership of our CEO Tom Feusse," said Wallick Co-Owner Howard Wallick.
It is the largest green renovation of an affordable housing community in the nation to date. Green features in the apartments include: energy efficient windows and doors, new HVAC, environmentally-friendly carpet and paint, low flow toilets, shower heads and faucets in bathrooms and kitchens and LED light bulbs in light fixtures. The developers are seeking Silver LEED certification for the project through the U.S. Green Building Council.
"Making the project green made sense from an economic as well as an environmental perspective," said David Hendy, Managing Director, Wallick-Hendy Development; Managing Member of Fay Development Group, Inc.
Throughout its 79 acres there is new landscaping and tree installation and new central laundry facilities. New playgrounds will be installed as well. Other amenities are a full service community center, independently-operated child care center, police sub-station, baseball fields and basketball courts. Construction on the original development was completed in 1962.
"I have lived here for 43 years and this is the best I have ever seen at Roll Hill. It is an even better place to live, play and raise a family, to make a home," said long-time Roll Hill Resident Carrie Turnbow. "Residents are enjoying their new apartments, everyone who lives here has benefited from the renovations – a community center for grown ups and a new playgrounds for children."
Funders include the City of Cincinnati - $3.2 million loan; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Affordable Housing Preservation - $31.6 million loan; and Fay Limited Partnership - $1.5 million equity. The project's general contractors are Reece Campbell, Inc. and Wallick Construction LLC.
"While there are have been physical changes to the property over the past 27 months, what has not changed is the sense of community here. Our team members work hard to make Roll Hill a home for everyone who lives here. They offer a wide range of services to improve and enhance residents' daily lives and their quality of life," said Hendy.
After the formal program, dignitaries cut a ceremonial ribbon and attendees toured the community's model apartment.