Upgrades to begin at Baptist Towers

The $7.9 million makeover by Choate Construction Co. will take about a year, according to project manager Steele Fortune. It will include exterior and interior work, including all 300 units of the 11-story high rise, as well as public and administration areas, Fortune said.

The affordable senior housing community, at 1881 Myrtle Ave., near Fort McPherson, was built 37 years ago. Columbus, Ohio-based National Church Residences purchased Baptist Towers in 2007 and said at the time the building would be renovated.

“It is the first major renovation since the building was built in 1972,” Fortune said. “We hope to get 268 of the units done in 11 months. We’re also converting 15 of the units to handicapped units.”

Resident Joyce Dewberry, 63, said she is just as excited about the renovation as she is about the Christmas holiday.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m very enthusiastic about the outcome of the appearance of the building,” said Dewberry, a resident for five years. “We will be the same community, with a new atmosphere.”

Work will begin on the fifth floor, where a fire in November forced the evacuation of the building. No injuries were reported and damage was limited to one unit, Choate superintendent Howard Stimson said.

Residents will be moved to on- and off-site locations as work progresses, two floors at a time.

All units will get new cabinets, appliances, plumbing, carpet, light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, ceramic tile, paint and windows.

“There are multiple challenges on every project,” Fortune said. “We will be getting it done in a time frame to meet their schedule. This is their home, where they live and we have to respect that.”

The project also will include:

● New sidewalks, handicap ramps and fencing

● A new 70-foot pedestrian bridge over a creek that leads to a walking path through existing trees

● A new roof

● A new acoustical ceiling system

● Guardrails along the halls and in the common area

● A new HVAC system with a central control package.

“This is a massive undertaking that will transform Baptist Towers and improve resident life immediately,” Millard Choate, CEO of Choate Construction, said in a statement. “Choate will carefully orchestrate the construction to cause minimal disruption.”

National Church Residences is a nonprofit senior living care provider whose metro facilities include Lakewood Christian Manor and Trinity Towers.

“We are excited that our residents will be soon introduced to an improved quality of life at the Baptist Towers,” Thomas W. Slemmer, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “NCR’s acquisition of Baptist Towers is part of a long-range strategic plan for NCR to gain concentration and growth in the Southeast, while preserving the nation’s shrinking stock of affordable senior housing.”

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