The federally subsidized Eureka Gardens apartment complex in Jacksonville has a new owner, new name and new look.
At the grand reopening ceremony Thursday, Millennia Housing and city leaders celebrated a new start for a complex that had been plagued with disrepair and gas leaks.
Millennia is making $44 million in renovations at Eureka Gardens— now called Valencia Way— and three other low-income housing properties it bought in Jacksonville.
In 2016, previous owner Global Ministries came under fire for how poorly it maintained the facilities.
Mona Lisa Arnold has lived at the subsidized complex since 2006.
”We had roach infestation, mold, no air condition, central air, irregular refrigerator, irregular stoves," said Arnold. “Just dirty carpet, dirty walls. Just everything.”
These conditions sparked public outcry that got the attention of Florida’s Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, who co-sponsored a bill that made it harder for property managers to ignore the concerns of tenants.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said he too was outraged.
When I walked into the very first home, the emotion. It was a mixture of anger and sadness. It just hit me like a brick. Tears, frustration,” he said “But the important thing was to take that and work with these residents—it’s really about the residents, it was there voice—and make change happen.”
Millennia is renovating all of Valencia Way’s 400 units, at an estimated $24 million.
The construction is expected to be finished by fall of 2020.