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Paces Residents to Be Evicted

New owner Camden plans demoliton by end of this year, letter says

residents soon will receive 30-day eviction notices from Camden Property Trust, the new owners of the sprawling, 30-acre complex in the heart of Buckhead.

“There was no lead time given to anybody,” resident Margaret Harman said Tuesday. “There was a note stuck on your door.”

The notice said that Camden plans to quickly demolish the apartments at the site at 77 E. Andrews Drive long owned by the Grant family. With frontage on East Andrews Drive and West Paces Ferry, Roswell and Valley roads, the property is a prime Buckhead location. The Houston-based Camden recently purchased the Paces for $39.3 million according to a report in the  

“Currently the precise timing is not known, however it is estimated that demolition of all buildings will be completed by the end of this year,” according to a letter from Tiffanie Dowd, property manager for RAM Partners LLC, which will continue managing the site. The letter, dated Aug. 12, was recently placed on residents' doors. Another notice notifying residents of the sale identifies Camden as Camden USA inc., a Delaware corporation.

Sitting in her two-bedroom apartment into which she moved over the Memorial Day weekend along with her 10- and 11-year-old daughters, Harman said the property has 135 units that are under lease, from 1,512 to 3,000 square feet. Ranging from elderly people to families with children and young professional singles, the residents of those units will now have to scramble to find a new place to live.

Although the rental property needs some repair, it's convenient to Buckhead shopping, restaurants and taverns, businesses and entertainment. It's located in the desired district. Parents who want their children to remain at Jackson will "have to remain in zone" when they leave, Harman said.

The Pace apartments also have desirable features such as high ceilings and cut-away alcoves and floor plan flexibility, she said.

Harman and others expressed outrage and sympathy for residents such as an 80-year-old woman who has lived in the complex since 1983. The woman has no computer, Harman and her mother, Rosemary Jonas, who lives with her, said.

“This is her home. Where is she going to go at 80 years old?” Harman said. 

Another resident, Virginia Snavely, who has children aged 12, 9 and 5, said finding a new home so soon will be difficult since she works full time. She also has to manage her children’s schedules.

“I went to see a condo this week,” said Snavely, who renewed her lease in July. “I’m hoping I can get a lease, but if it doesn’t work out, I have no idea where I’m going to.” She said that in the current market, it’s tough to find an apartment big enough for her and her children.

“They’re not giving us any compensation whatsoever,” Snavely said.

Harman said she believed that the residents should receive some recompense, such as a month’s free rent. Residents will receive their deposits, but administrative fees and pet deposits apparently will be lost. She pointed out that residents who recently moved in had to pay deposits for utilities and other services, along with moving expenses. Now, they'll have to do it again.

Snavely and Harman also expressed outrage that two sisters, Betty and Sylvia Vaughn, who’ve been doing laundry for residents for years, will lose their jobs. One has been at the apartment complex for 24 years and the other for 22, Harman said.

“They’re here every day, never miss work, are always on time and always have a smile on their face,” Snavely said. “I’m really worried about the two of them.”

Harman said, "They have no idea what they're going to do. They've basically been kicked out of a job."

Betty Vaughn, folding clothes in the stifling un-air-conditioned Paces laundromat Tuesday afternoon, said she had just received the notice about the apartments being torn down. When asked if she had any plans, she said, “not really.”

The announcement taped to the residents’ doors is not an eviction notice. "As provided in your lease, Camden is entitled to terminate your lease upon thirty (30) days' written notice in the event the apartment community is scheduled for substantial renovation, rehabilitation or demolition," Dowd's letter states.

"Although this letter does not constitute a thirty (30) day notice, you are advised that Camden will invoke such termination rights in the near future. Accordingly, you are now encouraged to seek other housing arrangements."

Harman said she expects the Camden eviction letter to arrive this week or next week. She said she will have 30 days to leave from the date the letter is received.

“I’ve got to find a place fast,” she said. Finding a comparable place in the Buckhead area where she has long lived will be trying, she said.

“There’s nothing in this area with this square footage, for this price, with these ceilngs.”

Jonas just moved to Atlanta from Charlotte, N.C., to live with her daughter and granddaughters. Whether that will continue “depends on where we can find a place to live,” Harman said.

Michael Langford August 20, 2011 at 10:31 PM
For the rent it charges you could easily buy a condo in midtown right now (not highrise, but the ones by the park).

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