VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — New management at the Atlantis Apartments hopes to not only do much-needed renovations on the units, but to build a stronger, safer community to prevent future violence.
Otis Lawrence has lived in the Atlantis Apartments for the last 12 years and says the violence needed to stop in the community, especially after a shooting hit too close to home for his elderly mother.
“I was at church that day and she called me, she like, ‘Can you come home? Come to the house.’ I was like what’s wrong? She like, ‘ Somebody just got shot outside my window and I seen it,'” he said.
A New York-based company has taken over management of the property hoping to change that cycle of violence.
Fairstead is in the process of not only renovating every unit in the complex, but also hopes to invest in community development as well.
Fairstead Director, Development Estelle Chan says they met with community partners to determine the biggest needs of their residents.
“This had been a traditionally disinvested community. And so when we came in, we knew you don’t just renovate the units, you have to put in a solid social services, community impact program as well,” she said.
Staff will implement new safety measures and community engagement events, like one held back in August.
10 On Your Side got a chance to look at one of their newly renovated units.
Each unit has been renovated from top to bottom and includes new appliances in the kitchen.
Families will begin moving into the units on a rolling basis as they’re finished. Also, all the windows are soundproof to block out the sound of jets flying over.
The property group provided 10 On Your Side with pictures before renovations began.
There’s over 200 units to be renovated for the roughly 600 residents who live in the complex.
Lawrence says there’s already been less violence and feels optimistic about the future of the community.
“It feels good to know that somebody really cares about this community and what’s going on out here,” he said.
All the renovations will be done within the next 18 months, including renovations to the community center at the complex. They hope to build a gym and a computer lab for residents to use.
Families will be moving into some of those new, completed units starting on Friday.