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Year-long renovation complete at Ivy Tower in Newport News

Ivy Tower tenants voiced their concerns through the years. On Thursday, they celebrated improvements to the 12-story affordable housing complex.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — After years of issues and complaints from tenants, renovations are complete at Ivy Tower in Newport News.

Weston Associates bought the property in November 2017. The improvement project cost $11 million. According to Love Foundation, all 140 units will be restricted to those earning less than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority issued $16 million in tax-exempt bonds to help with financing.

The renovation included new windows and a full exterior facade replacement, replacement and/or modernization of all major life-safety and building systems, installation of a new energy-efficient central heating and cooling system, improvement of interior common areas with a new community room and attached computer-learning center, laundry room, office and improved apartment interiors with energy-efficient lighting, plumbing fixtures and appliances and newly renovated kitchens and bathrooms.

Renovations also included the creation of seven new ADA-accessible units.

Sylvia Futrell has lived at Ivy Tower for 10 years. She said she remembers what she and other tenants went through over the years.

“When you can switch to heat or cool, it makes a big difference,” Futrell said. “It's just a great improvement.”

On Thursday, local and state leaders celebrated the grand reopening. Speakers included Newport News Vice Mayor Tina Vick, Executive Director of the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority Karen R. Wilds, Senator Mamie Locke (2nd District, Senate of Virginia), Delegate Marcia Price (95th District, Virginia House of Delegates) and Vice President of Operations at Weston Associates Michael J. Packard.

“It is a benefit to the community and to the residents who have lived in this community for so long,” Vick said. “It’s new life coming to the South District. As our community looks better, people feel better, and when people feel better, they do better.”

“This is just going to make a huge difference for the families that live here,” Wilds said.

Some city leaders opposed the project at first, which prompted tenants to march down to city council almost three years ago. City council voted in favor of the project back in 2016.

“When those ordinary citizens came together, united as one, and let their voices be heard, there was a complete turnaround,” SCLC State Vice President and Chapter President Andrew Shannon said.