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Stonybrook project goes before Riviera council

Posted: 9:53 PM, Jul 28, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-28 21:53:25-04

The Stonybrook saga continues in Riviera Beach.

For weeks, we've reported on the deplorable conditions residents say they've lived in for years such as mold, holes in the walls, and leaks.

On Wednesday, the Riviera Beach City council will discuss approving a project that could improve their lives.

And for the first time ever, we spoke with the management company responsible for the complex.

"We're here. That's why we're here. We're here to help," said Jeffrey Crossman, at the Millenia Companies.

The Ohio-based company is responsible for Stonybrook Apartments, where residents say they've been dealing with mold, leaks and infestations.

"I can't tell you why they existed for so long but I can tell you that we have a team of people addressing these issues,"  said Crossman.

This week, reps are in town walking the property and meeting with code enforcement as they continue inspections, citing which units are unsafe.

"We're accompanying them so that we're all on the same page about what needs to be done here," said Crossman.

On Monday, more frustrations were voiced from residents at a Riviera Beach council meeting.

"This has got to be the saddest case of neglect upon a large group of individuals," said one woman.

"These people don't need to live like they're in a third world country," said another woman.

Millenia says it is investing $13 million into rehabbing all 216 units at Stonybrook.

"It's a full renovation of the property, including every single unit, down to the studs. All new kitchens, all new bathrooms," said Crossman.

The plans also include a community center with a fitness and business center, as well as enhanced security.

But residents have concerns about rent increasing. Millenia told me today rent will not go up.

"Rents are set by HUD, and it's scheduled by a formula," said Crossman. "So the rent will be based on a percentage of their income, which should stay the same."

The project proposal will go through a first reading at Riviera Beach City council on Wednesday and will need to go through another meeting before going before council for final approval. The city zoning department has already approved the project, according to Millenia.

"I think it does address every issue the residents are concerned about, we just need the opportunity to do that," said Crossman.

Residents will remain on site in temporary units while their apartments are renovated. Millenia will start with one building and once that is renovated, the shift process will begin with tenants in the remaining buildings.

Millenia says it will also bear the costs of moving expenses as they shift people around the complex during this construction process, which could start as early as this November.

Construction could last 18 to 24 months.