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Buyer brings life back to abandoned apartments

Staff writer

People driving past the former Birchwood Apartments in Hillsboro are noticing quite a change in property that used to be an eyesore.

Its once-overgrown lawn is now mowed; and its once-shabby buildings are being repaired and turned into spaces where someone other than squatters would want to live.

Chad Kuebler and Joe Wolfgram, owners of JC Enterprises of Webster City, Iowa, purchased the property in October.

Kuebler and a three-member work crew are cleaning up and renovating the property.

They made repairs to plumbing that ruptured last winter, cleaned out refuse left by people who squatted in the empty apartments, and pulled out damaged flooring for eventual replacement.

“We worked about two weeks just fixing leaks,” Kuebler said.

Mold is being cleaned from interiors, and walls and doors are being scraped and repainted.

The company has overhauled property in Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, and Missouri, Kuebler said.

“That’s what we do, buy distressed property and fix it up,” he said.

The property fell into disrepair after fewer and fewer apartments were occupied and its three buildings eventually sat empty except for squatters.

JC Enterprises bought the property from a company that acts as a middleman, purchasing dilapidated properties and marketing them to buyers to renew them and bring the housing back onto the market.

Kuebler said his business might purchase other housing in the county.

The apartment complex has six one-bedroom, four two-bedroom, and two three-bedroom units. Each has an attached storage shed that will be fixed up with new doors installed.

Exterior doors will be replaced and some windows will be replaced, as well.

Siding and storm doors will be added.

Apartments will be rented as they are completed, Kuebler said.

A broken-down fence on the east edge of the property will be torn out, and trees on the west side will be cut down.

Kuebler said a couple living in a house nearby told him they were eager to hear the voices of children playing on the property again.

Brad Yazel, owner of Yazel-Megli Funeral Homes, with its Hillsboro facility to the west of the property, said he was “very happy” to see the property being repaired and rejuvenated.

Its condition likely lowered property values in the vicinity of the apartment complex, he said.

Last modified Dec. 15, 2021

 

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