FERGUSON, Mo. – T.E.H. Realty acquired the Park Ridge Apartments in late May of 2018. Since the change in ownership, Park Ridge residents have felt more at ease and T.E.H. has helped bring a sense of community to the area.
“When I first got here, it was a mess. I was afraid to come out of my door. Every time I asked for something to be done in my apartment, they put me on hold,” Rose Neal, resident at Park Ridge Apartments, said. “Since T.E.H. has been here, I have had no problem as far as when I need something done in my apartment. I call down here to management and she immediately gets on it. Since T.E.H. has taken over, all the ‘rats’ are gone. I don’t have to be afraid anymore. Now I’m comfortable.”
T.E.H. Realty currently owns twelve properties in the St. Louis region, as well as properties in Kansas City, Mo., Pennsylvania, Indianapolis and Tulsa, Ok. Reportedly, the company has a good track record of buying properties and improving them.
In just a few months, T.E.H. has worked to rebuild and rebrand the property with different construction projects such as repairs to the elevated stairwell located behind the office building. So far, half of the concrete has been poured for the stairwell, however, the cold weather has delayed the process a bit.
“We’re hoping on Friday that we can pour the last part of this,” John Dean, regional manager with T.E.H. Realty, said. “I was told that our Ferguson inspector was here just a short while ago and approved everything that they are doing.”
According to T.E.H. staff, the inspectors come out to inspect various states of each project to check the different phases. Whether it is the interior or exterior of the units, T.E.H. is making sure they are walking the properties with the inspectors and taking action to implement recommendations, ensuring that units are up-to-par for occupancy.
According to Dean, the inspector was pleased with the reinforcements that are currently being made. He also said there are extensive improvements being made on this particular property with checkpoints, gutters, stairwells and more.
“We’re taking the property and making it much better than we got it. It was sort of neglected for years, nothing was done,” Eliram Rabin, owner of Park Ridge Apartments and partner of T.E.H. Realty, said. “We are investing a couple million dollars, not just here but in the other properties, to operate them and fix common areas that need fixing.”
For Rabin, it is important to him that the residents feel like this space is their home, a place to bring their friends and families. He wants them to feel a sense of community, which Janet Carthen, property manager of Park Ridge, can attest to happening.
“We’re involved with the church down the street,” Carthen said. “So, we have a referral with them and some of their outreach, as well as outreach with the Urban League. “
Faith and Family M.B. Church, located down the road from Park Ridge Apartments, has a prayer box located in the apartment’s office building for residents to come and write down their prayer requests. Residents have the opportunity to stay anonymous or write their name and request one-on-one prayer with the pastor. The church comes to pick up the prayer requests once a week.
“So right now it’s just bringing the community back together in what we’re doing,” Carthen said.
T.E.H. has worked hard to improve safety at the apartment complex, evicting residents who were not following the rules and making changes to improve security. Rabin said it is a big change from less than six months ago, and now people want to stay and bring their friends and family over.
“It’s rebuilding. Over the past several months, we had to get rid of the bad apples and make some changes to improve the atmosphere in the complex. So we’re definitely getting better,” Carthen said. “We’re focusing on making the community safer, making it better, more of a community.”
Rabin said they don’t see people wanting to move out and it’s very quiet now, which everyone likes.
“A lot of the riff-raff are gone. Troublemakers? They are gone. So there’s peace and quiet,” Robert Collins, resident at Park Ridge Apartments, said.
Collins has lived in the apartment for eight years and is referred to as the “bodyguard” by the other residents and property workers because he makes sure the other residents safely make it to and from their destinations when walking to the stores or down the road. He upholds the sense of community that T.E.H. is working to rebuild.
Although many of the residents are happy with the changes being made, T.E.H. did acknowledge that there was frustration from other residents, community organizations and the housing authority over problems stemming from the previous ownership. They expect the frustration came from not seeing action being taken, but T.E.H. hopes to show the improvements that are being made are “turning a corner.”
“The City of Ferguson is happy with what we are doing. They would like us to be here and like us to continue what we are doing,” Rabin said. “The way that we manage the properties is that we do things that are good and healthy for all.”
Rabin said they are here for the long haul and plan to keep Park Ridge in the T.E.H. portfolio for years to come, and their goal is not to make improvements and leave, but rather make improvements and continue forming a strong community that feels safe.
“Working for this company, it’s a family, and this is reflected in how we respond to our residents. It has to start from the top to come down to the bottom and you don’t see that in a lot of companies,” Carthen said. “T.E.H. takes pride in their properties and how they manage them. I feel truly blessed to come and work for them.”
T.E.H. said they plan to start more community-based events in the upcoming months for their residents at Park Ridge. They want to ensure that they are doing renovations as well as activities that are benefiting their residents. Neal even mentioned building a park on one of the vacant places for the children to play.
“Me as an owner, my goal is to make the tenants happy. If the tenants are happy then everything else will work,” Rabin said. “We want a warm place. A place with no drama and where people feel like it’s their home. We want them to feel like they are part of the community.”