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Greensboro apartments up for sale; neighbors say complex needs a makeover

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A Greensboro apartment complex is up for sale and neighbors say it needs a makeover.

Community leaders are working to revitalize the entire Cottage Grove neighborhood and they hope the news owners of Avalon Trace will join them.

Most of the 176 apartments at the complex are more than 50 years old. Some of them were renovated in 2012, but even so, members of the Greensboro Housing Coalition say the conditions inside are poor.

"I've seen conditions that… I did just did not think that was a reality in Greensboro," said Josie Williams, with the Greensboro Housing Coalition.

"I've been on the properties of Avalon Trace dozens of times dealing with some very significant repair issues, from cockroaches to mold and moisture, roof leaks," said Brett Byerly, the executive director of the housing coalition.

"I've been over here about 25 years and it's been that way," said Verna Torain, the president of the Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association. She lives down the road from Avalon Trace.

Now the property is up for sale and neighbors think a renovation to the complex could help improve the whole Cottage Grove community.

"It could be beautiful," said Patricia MacFoy, the executive director of the New Hope Community Development Group. "It could be a place where people can grow their families, where people can take pride in the place where they live."

A representative for the complex's owners said they will repair the property's exterior, including roofs and landscaping, before the sale.

But the buyers will be responsible for improving the units.

"Our hope is whoever decides to buy this place knows what they're getting," Byerly said.

The company's representative said they plan to sell to a buyer who has experience renovating properties that need big improvements. But to keep rent low, around $400 or $500, the new owner can only put in so much money.

"We know that you can't invest $50,000 per door and hold the rents at the same level," Byerly said.

That's where groups like the Greensboro Housing Coalition and Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association come in.

"We want people to live comfortable," MacFoy said. "We want people to live in a healthy environment."

They want people in any neighborhood to reach out and speak up when conditions aren't right.

"Community voices really do mater and they're important, and the powers that be listen when the community speaks," Byerly said.

The representative for the owners of Avalon Trace said several potential buyers have already reached out.

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