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The apartments on Jacato Drive, which were rife with safety issues, bed bugs and crime for years, were bought several months ago but the new owners are giving the area a facelift.

And the difference is night and day.

Kinzie Racine LP, a company based in Evanston IL., owns nine apartment buildings at 2408, 2409, 2432, 2525, 2627, 2700, 2707, 2800, and 2801 Jacato Drive. They plan to not only restore and repair the buildings, but rename the rental community “The Maples,” and have also requested to rename the street.

“We are excited to be investing in Racine and look forward to presenting our remodeled apartments to the market this May,” said Charlie Clarke, principal of Kinzie Racine.

Jose Alarcon, the assistant property manager, said when he started the hallways were dark, and the properties were in disrepair.

“It looked like a jail,” he said.

The company has worked on restoring the apartments since February. The improvement project is expected to be completed in 18 months, but two of the buildings have been completed and will be available for lease in May.

The restoration includes putting in new landscaping, installing siding and windows, and putting in new flooring, cabinets, countertops and appliances.

The apartment buildings have been flipped about eight times.

City officials hoped to have a developer knockdown and rebuild single-family row houses, said Mayor John Dickert.

“They (the developers) believe they can do it by revamping these apartments,” Dickert said. “Our goal was twofold: To get these units to the highest quality and get the best security system in those hallways because this is where many of our police officers were having problems.”

The development company has also requested to rename Jacato Drive.

“We’re going to look at that because we’ve got a developer that is committed to doing the work,” Dickert said.

But no matter how much remodeling or renaming is done, Dickert believes the success of the project comes down to how well the apartment buildings are managed. But the development company says it has 24/7, on-site management, secure access doors and intercom access.

“If it’s managed well, it should be fine,” he said. “But if it’s not, we’ll know about it right away.

In the meantime, the city plans to keep the COP House in the neighborhood.

“We want to make sure we stabilize this neighborhood,” Dickert said. “Once it is stabilized, we can move it to another neighborhood.”

The Maples is now renting efficiency, one, and two-bedroom apartments. The cost of apartments will range from $450 to $650 per month.

For more information, call the office at (262) 632-4200 or visit the community’s website at www.themaples.com.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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