The rental community on Trolley Road's west side before Midland Parkway changed ownership in one day, July 26 last year to be exact.
A property upgrade, by contrast, hasn't taken a day: It's been more like eight months and counting. The 34-year-old complex had fallen on hard times in recent years.
But the new owners of what's been renamed Summerville Station have put the months to good use. They've gradually overhauled residences, retrofit attractions and spread the word about the 200-unit rental village at 1660 Old Trolley Road. Summerville Station is holding an open house today to show off the place.
"We gave the property a facelift," says Jon McClintock, senior property manager.
McClintock works for PRG, short for Pennsylvania Realty Group. It was Philadelphia-based PRG that purchased the Summerville rental property, formerly known as Churchill Commons, last summer.
"I know the Charleston market," McClintock says. "It offers a lot of growth, (with) a lot of major employers," he says.
Formed 29 years ago, PRG has expanded up and down the Eastern Seaboard .The company also owns and manages properties in Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg.
McClintock, who relocated to Summerville Station from a rental turnaround project in Orlando, says the rental village showed pluses even before the upgrades.
"The property itself is in a good location. You are not right downtown," he says.
Apartments are being upgraded when they become vacant. Crews with Raleigh-based THS National have thus far renovated 55 units, McClintock says.
"The tenants started seeing we put money into the property," he says. "They're impressed with the change."
Rental rates "fluctuate daily," he says, but the 700-1,200 square foot apartments generally range from $670 a month for the Georgetown single bedroom units to $950 a month for the Savannah three bedroom designs. The two-bedroom styles, named the Charleston, run $840 to $875 a month. Apartments come with one, one-and-half or two bathrooms.
Apartment redesigns are extensive. They include replacing existing floors with hardwoods; installing stainless steel refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers; redoing countertops; and putting in new toilets.
"It has a different look and feel, a little more modern," he says.
Contractors also repaired breezeways in the rental buildings and pressure-washed the vinyl siding. All the units will have porches or balconies.
In addition to renewing the rentals, PRG to date has:
-Fully remodeled the clubhouse, converting the kitchen into an office, adding a fitness center and building a new kitchen. There's also a laundry on the property, although the apartments have their own washers and dryers.
-Renewed the swimming pool grills and cabana. Upgrading the pool deck is on the list of future projects.
-Fixed up the community playground.
-Replaced an aging basketball court while updating a tennis court.
-Added a dog park.
-Spent time and effort on a property clean-up and on landscaping. Ornamental trees include dogwoods, which are now in bloom.
-Replaced exterior lighting with LED fixtures. "It really has brightened up the property," McClintock says.
-Removed an "ugly" wooden fence in front of the property with a new iron fence.
The manager says a variety of new tenants have chosen Summerville Station. "We get a good number out of Boeing, Bosch, Trident (Technical College) students and employees."
Occupancy rates have been high. "We're sitting at 94 percent now."
He says the management is working with tenants who have leased since the Churchill Commons days when rents were lower. Plans in motion include giving the long-time renters a year to 18 months before raising rates.
He says he's talked to tenants who plan to stay and pay the higher rent. But he also acknowledges, "Obviously, we are going to have turnover."
Summerville Station stands toward the southern edge of Trolley Road. Traveling west, take Interstate 26 to the U.S. Highway 78 exit, 205A. Once on Highway 78, go a half-mile and make a left on Ladson Road. Follow Ladson Road for more than two miles to Midland Parkway and turn right. Follow Midland Parkway to Trolley Road and turn left. Ahead on the right is Summerville Station.
For more information, visit www.summervillestation.com.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com.