Mayor Cuts Ribbon On Rehabbed Gwynn Oak Apartment Complex

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– If you drive around Baltimore you’ll see pockets of blight that never seem to get better. Now developers from Chicago are helping to clean up Baltimore one apartment at a time.

Mike Schuh has the story.

Not that long ago, the mayor and city officials would have never walked through this section of Gwynn Oak.

“Because it used to be prostitutes and drug dealers run all up and down here,” said Edber Powell, a new resident in the area.

“You had bad people doing bad things all the time. Murders, I mean drugs. Rampant,” said Lloyd Murphy, former tenant.

The Garrison Woods Apartments were considered the worst. Vacant for 12 years, they were burned to the shell.

With no government subsidies, Chicago developer Steve Joung of Pangea Real Estate rebuilt the apartments.

“This just cost $8 million to have this. So if you have $8 million hanging around, you get the mayor and the commissioner and this is amazing,” Joung said.

Pangea Oaks are basic, clean, modern and air conditioned. They rent for about what a not as nice apartment goes for.

Joung’s company owns 10,000 apartments. Most in Chicago and Indianapolis.

But he said he can’t turn ruins into riches without a strong community.

“And if there’s a strong standing sense of pride in the neighborhood, we know we have something to work with and that’s what we target,” Joung said.

Powell just moved in to an apartment similar to the one being toured Monday. Something he wouldn’t have dared to do just a few years ago.

“You couldn’t have paid me to think about moving over here during that time. It was that bad,” Powell said.

“This developer came in from Chicago said they’ve been watching what we’ve been doing in Baltimore. They feel that Baltimore is a city on the move, and they want to be part of it,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The developers say this is just the beginning. Soon they’re going to have over 500 renovated apartments just like this here in Baltimore.

The developer will open the next set of 24 apartments in October.

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