KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — More than a dozen people are packing up decades of memories they made inside their apartments at 110 Woodbine Street in Kernersville.
70-year-old Jesse Cowpers spent almost half his life in apartment A1.
“You can hear the birds. It’s so quiet. It’s so peaceful,” Cowpers said.
Those are all things he’s appreciated as he gets older. Another thing he’s loved, is the affordable rent.
“In most places, the rent goes up 10 percent year, after year, after year until you just can’t afford to live in these apartments anymore,” Cowpers said.
His rent was always below market value.
He and the 13 other people living in his building knew things would change when Ginkgo Residential, the group that owns the Station on Pineview just next door, bought the property.
They expected a rent hike and renovations but not a move-out notice.
“It was kind of like a slap in the face. No one saw it coming,” said Eddie Taylor, another resident at 110 Woodbine Street.
The letter dated May 27 gave the 14 tenants 60 days to leave for large-scale improvements to their building.
Something they say did not happen at the neighboring property the same company owns.
“They renovated every one of those buildings down there. They remolded them outside and in, and they didn’t make nobody leave to do it. But now they’re singling us out to do that,” Taylor said.
The company offered the renters apartments at market value at their other local properties after following the standard application process and $500 to help with moving costs.
The problem for people who have to relocate is the price and location of not just Ginkgo properties but apartments in general.
“They’re way up in the $950 to $1,000, and that’s just for a one-bedroom. Most of them, if you can find it, have anywhere from six months to a year waiting list,” Taylor said.
Cowpers tells FOX8 he’s called well over 100 places.
He’s trying to find a place that will prioritize his health and limitations with his disabilities.
“I have to find a place that has adequate handicap parking because with my legs, I have to swing my door all the way out,” Cowpers said. “There just aren’t enough handicap places available.”
FOX8 reached out to the original property owner and Ginkgo Residential to see if the two companies had plans to do the work without displacing people.
We also asked for clarification on whether or not people living in the property next door were forced to leave during renovations and have not heard back on either.