WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Hurricane-battered Market North Apartments in Wilmington now has a new owner.
Scott Langan, Principal/Director of Development for Vitus, a housing real estate developer with offices in Seattle and New York, said on Monday that the company closed on its purchase of Market North and that rehabilitation work will start Tuesday.
Back in June, Langan confirmed that Vitus was in the process of purchasing Market North, ending months of speculation about the property’s future.
Management shuttered Market North after Hurricane Florence severely damaged many of the complex’s 204 Section 8-subsidized rental units, displacing more than 700 residents.
The complex, previously owned by California-based Foundation for Affordable Housing, has remained closed since the September 2018 storm, and slow progress on repairs fueled rumors it would be sold and redeveloped into high-end apartments, like other nearby apartment complexes.
After months of insisting the property would not be sold, Brandon Moody, a spokesman for The Foundation for Affordable Housing, previously explained the company’s decision to sell.
"Insurance complications and speed of repairs made it necessary to pursue a sale of Market North. We believe this outcome is best for all parties involved. We have complete confidence that the new ownership group and HUD will maintain Market North as an affordable housing property. We know VITUS will do an excellent job as they rehab the property and begin to move residents back in,” Moody wrote
Addressing community concerns, Langan said in June that the property will still have a Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Contract to “preserve affordability and protect the residents long term."
“We’re waiting for HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) to finish up some paperwork, Langan said. “We expect rehabilitation of the property to start right after [the sale is finalized].”
Langan explained rehabilitation wouldn’t just be limited to fixing exterior and interior portions damaged by the storm, but “all new everything,” including appliances in the units.
“We want [Market North residents] to not only have their homes again, but something new and sustainable,” Langan said. “We want them back and we want them happy.”