Major facelift of ‘troubled’ apartment building north of downtown underway
It’s a residential tower that’s served as the backdrop for a number of crimes, including Edmonton’s first homicide of 2013, but the building’s new managers are making strides in repairing Capital Tower’s bad reputation.
Capital Tower, located on 101 Street and 106 Avenue, has been known for years as a hub of criminal activity.
However, the owners of the building decided to turn over a new leaf at the beginning of 2013, by hiring Helm Property Management and Realty to run the building.
So far, the new management company has spent nearly $2 million on renovations.
“We’re putting in newer cabinets, newer countertops, we’re redoing the bathrooms and paint, and the floor,” Joel Helm with Helm Property Management and Realty said.
In addition, Helm said about 30 tenants have been removed from the building, many of them had problems with drugs, and were involved in gangs.
One of the people in charge of the building said the corruption of security staff was common.
“Some of the security staff were taking payoffs from the gangs for them to enter the building,” Manager Barry Davis said.
At one point, Davis said, four gangs were operating in the building – and they were working together, controlling much of what happened inside.
Now, a new security company has been hired to look after the building around the clock, a new curfew is in place – no visitors after 9 p.m., and identification is required.
The changes are already evident.
“We don’t have as many problems with vandalism and good tenants in the building being afraid of what was going on,” Helm said.
Police have also noticed a difference – at one point, officers were called to Capital Tower about four times a day.
“We’ve seen a decrease in calls for service for police for sure,” Cst. Darren Wasmuth with EPS said. “Right now as it sits, we may be called here once a week.”
For members of the surrounding community, changes at Capital Tower are also helping efforts to revitalize the McCauley neighbourhood.
“They’re really trying to reach out and appeal to the student population, which will be coming in the near future with the performing arts facility and other developments,” Jane Molstad with the McCauley Revitalization said.
But the new manager’s work is far from finished, there are plans in progress to apply to a façade program through the City of Edmonton, to help transform the building’s exterior.
With files from Veronica Jubinville