The new owners of the City Walk apartment complex, 2019 5th St. W., have some work to do.
A small shack sits empty with broken windows at the entrance of the complex. Wooden privacy fences around the property have boards missing and entire sections sag from age. Stray cats roam the yards, many of which are littered with discarded 2-liter soda bottles and candy wrappers.
The 144-unit property was sold to a Pembroke Park-based company, Samjack Homestead LLC, in an off-market transaction totaling $6.5 million in early November. The old owners, Action Property group, owned the complex under the APG City Walk LLC name. Brett Decklever, partner in Action Property Group, hopes the new ownership can make improvements that his company could not.
$6.5 million amount City Walk apartments sold for
“It’s a challenging place to manage and we’re a small mom-and-pop ownership and management group,” Decklever said. “To properly turn the place around, we didn’t have funding to do it in a correct manner.”
Action Property Group, under different LLC names, owns other properties in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Property manager Yolanda Ortega echoed Decklever’s thoughts and said the new owners hope to clean up the place. The officers of Samjack Homestead LLC, listed in Florida corporate records as Sam Jazayri, John Tavone and Rene Sanchez, are experienced in turning properties around, Ortega said.
“He has great plans for it and we’re making it nice on the inside and taking out everyone who is not good in here to clean it up,” she said.
By “everyone who is not good,” Ortega was referring to tenants who are delinquent on their rent. She said she is also working with the City of Bradenton police department on cleaning up the area.
Betty Holmes, who was born and raised in Manatee County and has lived at City Walk for three years, said the biggest problem at the complex is illicit drug activity. She said she and her son, 28-year-old Jerod Holmes, have seen drug transactions occur out in the open.
“I don’t like it,” Betty Holmes said. “I really don’t like it. Cause I told one young man, there are two places it will get you, in the ground or in prison for the rest of your life. It’s not good.”
The Holmeses also had issues with prompt maintenance in the past, she said, and maintenance crews under the new owners already are responding at a faster rate.
Before it was sold it was getting worse. The place wasn't getting cleaned up; all the privacy fence looked terrible. If you asked the maintenance to fix up something it would take forever for them to come repair it.
Betty Holmes, three-year City Walk resident
Betty Holmes also would like to see more options for the group of small children seen running around the complex.
“They don’t have a play area for the kids so they are always going to be getting into something out here,” she said. “Maybe a basketball area or a swing or a slide or something. That’s what they need; a play area for the kids.”
APG City Walk LLC bought 100 units from Bradenton investor and former head of the Manatee County Republican Party Paul Sharff in December 2013, the Herald previously reported. Decklever said his company was able to buy the remaining condominium owners out and some of the 44 were vacant due to foreclosure. After terminating the homeowner’s association, APG City Walk LLC turned the condo complex into an apartment rental complex in early 2015.