By Rose Laudicina
Ken Lucas of Tar Heel Companies no longer owns Abbey Court Condominiums; in fact, Abbey Court technically no longer exists.
In a recently finalized transaction, NEPSA operating group and its affiliate Aspen Square Management, a national property-management firm, purchased the Abbey Court Condominiums and changed the complexâ€™s name to Collins Crossing.
Condominium owners were invited to a meeting on June 7, where they were introduced to the complexâ€™s new owners and given a letter providing them with some limited details of the ownership change.
Lucasâ€™ lawyer, Bart White, did not return calls for comment about the change.
Laura Perry is the new manager of Collins Crossing. According to Celeste Grippo, a traveling manager for Aspen Square Management, the new management moved into the complexâ€™s offices on Monday and started inspecting units Tuesday to assess current conditions.
Aspen Square Management owns and manages Berkshire Manor and Berkshire Manor West in Carrboro and Ashford Lakes in Hillsborough.
Grippo said she could not comment at this time on future plans for the development. However, Carrboro Town Manager David Andrews said in an email to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen that there were indications the new management would be renovating units as existing leases expire.
Condominium owners Christine and Michael Duff said in an email to The Citizen that they are excited about the new ownership and are looking forward to the propertyâ€™s improvement.
Judith Blau, executive director at the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Human Rights Center, said she is looking forward to having a hopefully good relationship with the new owners that benefits both the center and the residents, something she did not have with the previous owner.
Until recently, the Human Rights Center (HRC) had been housed in two apartment buildings in Abbey Court, but after the homeownersâ€™ association in Abbey Court forced the HRC to leave, the center moved nearby to 107 Barnes St.
While Blau acknowledges that renovations to the condominium complex are desperately needed to bring things up to code â€“ citing buildings that are unsafe and stairways that are falling apart â€“ because a large percentage of the residents who live in the condominium complex are immigrants, she is concerned that renovations could price them out of the complex.
â€œWhat worries me is that they will make renovations and then increase the rents so that the apartments would no longer be affordable to very low-income households,â€ Blau said.
â€œWe donâ€™t want this to be another college community,â€ she added. â€œI mean, the college students have lots of opportunities everywhere, but the Latinos and refugees donâ€™t have many.â€
When called for comment, a representative for Aspen Square Management simply confirmed the company had taken ownership of the property, then hung up the phone.