A former north-side eyesore that drew the ire of neighbors and area businesses has gotten a face-lift.
Casa Presidio Apartment Homes, 2002 E. Fort Lowell Road, is now leasing one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments on the site of a once-boarded-up, affordable-housing complex that became a magnet for taggers and squatters.
Town West Design Development bought the vacant Vista Sierra Apartments last year after city and federal officials worked to remove the Section 8 requirement on the property, President Jim Horvath said.
"The city of Tucson and (Councilwoman) Karin Uhlich's office encouraged us to take a look at the property and the neighborhood because of the crime element being created there," he said.
Transforming the property, which was vacated in 2010, was no small task.
"We had to take the building down to the studs," Horvath said of the complex, which was built in the 1970s.
The two-story complex has 78 units, which have elevated ceilings on the first floor and vaulted ceilings on the second floor.
The floor plans were remodeled and individual air-conditioning units were installed, Horvath said.
Uhlich said her office was receiving weekly calls from residents, area business owners and even Fort Lowell Road commuters about the property when it was in disrepair.
"I'm so happy that a local developer took it over and transformed it from a blight to this beautiful property," she said.
Uhlich called herself an advocate for affordable housing, but said removing that restriction was necessary to get the property fixed up.
"We worked closely with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and HUD to make sure that when the property went out for auction, it would be acquired and redeveloped," she said. "With the condition of this property, (affordable housing) restrictions would have meant it would have stayed vacant for years."
Aside from the remodeled units, Casa Presidio features a new pool, spa and fitness center.
Rents range from $735 for a one-bedroom to $1,485 for a two-bedroom unit with a den.
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