Under new ownership, Allens Lane apartments draw up same old concerns from neighbors

 Members of the town watch are wondering when the renovations to the Allens Lane apartments, shown here, will be complete. (Aaron Moselle/WHYY, file)

Members of the town watch are wondering when the renovations to the Allens Lane apartments, shown here, will be complete. (Aaron Moselle/WHYY, file)

The Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cresheim Town Watch gathered last week to discuss the status of the Allens Lane apartment buildings on the 100 block between Allens Lane and Nippon Street.

Jackie Silverman, property manager for building, was scheduled to provide an update on the progress of an ongoing renovation project at the Allens Lane buildings, but informed the group prior to the meeting that she would be unable to attend.

At issue for the members of the Town Watch are primarily two unanswered questions: When will the renovation project be completed, and will the renovations be up to the standard previously promised to the group. 

“People who have visited these blocks with the intention of perhaps buying a house here have found the condition of the buildings to be a drawback,” said neighbor Lynn Schleifer.

The history

In Sept. 2013, a representative from SBG offered local residents a sneak peek of the renovations made to the apartments after the buildings reached such a bad state in 2012 a group of residents banded together to file a fair housing complaint.

At that time the project appeared to be moving forward in a satisfactory manner. The condition of the apartment seemed much better than before.

“On that basis, and on the basis of management’s descriptions and expectations, we had high hopes,” said Steve Stroiman, coordinator of the town watch.

A group of new tenants moved into one of the buildings over the summer, and by September had moved out, reportedly due to the property management group’s breaking of agreements that renovations would be completed by multiple specified deadlines.

Local resident concerns

This state of affairs concerns local residents because of the long history of minimal investment in the upkeep of the Allens Lane buildings by previous owners. Evidence of the current renovation project indicates that progress has thus far been slow and piecemeal.

“My sense is that the owners of the building either lack the capital to complete the project or are attempting to save a great deal of money by dragging things out as long as possible,” said Stroiman. “At this point we are concerned that the contractors hired to undertake the renovations will in the end just cut and run.”

Members of the Town Watch present agreed to draft a letter addressing their concerns and forward it to East Mt. Airy Neighbors Association and the Office of Eighth District Councilwoman Cindy Bass.

Attempts to reach the Abington offices of SBG Management Services, Inc. failed, as the listed number has been disconnected.

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