The 60-year-old Grand Manor apartment complex in Tyler is getting a $6.5 million facelift.

A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the makeover is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the apartments at 2700 N. Grand Ave.

The property is 60 years old and was formerly Texas College Apartments. Apartment Manager Robin LaGrone said most people who live there are from the immediate area, and many have raised their children there. There also are a lot of senior residents, she added.

A year ago, the apartments changed owners to Odyssey Residential, of Dallas, which is changing its name to Victor Park Apartments.

She said it has been awarded tax credits for low-income housing and was approved for $6.5 million in renovations.

Ms. LaGrone said $6.5 million is “a ton” of money for a small 120-unit complex and will include a new sidewalk, parking lots, roof, HVAC system, stairway, windows and gutting the interiors of the residences for complete makeovers. They also will add a 3,000-square-foot clubhouse, swimming pool, a computer center, two playgrounds, basketball court and gates around the entire property, she said.

The complex was at about 100 percent capacity before construction started recently, Ms. LaGrone. Tenants are staying at hotels, with many at the nearby Quality Inn Hotel, or with friends. She said they plan to move residents back into the renovated complex starting April 1.

Ms. LaGrone said in the past, the complex was gang- and drug-ridden, but they have cleaned it up, and the community is excited about it.

She said they are almost through Phase I of the project, having gutted the apartments, and are expecting siding and windows to be done this week. She said they expect the complete project to last nine to 12 months, depending on the weather.

They will have a social coordinator there for residents and will hold regular activities, such as potluck dinners, she said.

Casey Murphy

Tyler Morning Telegraph, 3/2/2014