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Wheaton Center Apartments to undergo $30M renovation

WHEATON – A year after major apartment development Wheaton 121 opened, another complex in the downtown area will begin a more than $30 million renovation.

Wheaton Center Apartments, located at 2 Wheaton Center off Liberty Drive, will overhaul the units in one of its towers and its commuter garage, in addition to several other improvements.

The six-building, 758-unit complex was purchased by Draper and Kramer in May. The firm had helped the previous owner with renovations in 2008 and 2009 on one of the complex's towers, and decided to go forward with the second tower this summer.

"Tower 2 has never had a significant renovation," said Bill Van Senus, senior vice president of acquisitions and development for the real estate company. "It was built in the early '70s and it's home to a lot of people, a kind of popular place, and the buildings have gone through some deterioration."

Tenants affected by the project were formally notified this week, he said. There will be about 200 apartments getting upgrades to kitchens, flooring and lighting. Work will begin later in the month and continue over the course of the next few years.

Resident programming will also be introduced to make for a more communal experience.

Van Senus said Draper and Kramer hope the renovation will attract residents to the development and establish it as a preferred living destination in the area.

"The property is not occupied to as high of levels of other properties in the market, and we expect once we're done it will be occupied again to market levels," he said. "It's always had a tremendous location, and we hope to eliminate the negatives associated with it."

Downtown Wheaton Association Executive Director Paula Barrington said the refurbishments would keep Wheaton Center competitive in today's market and help retain and attract residents.

"Today's renter who is looking for an urban/suburban lifestyle wants all updated amenities, a modern day kitchen and bath facility, those little touches of luxury," she said. "Even though those apartments have been in the community for a number of years, one of the strongest selling points are location, location, location."

Barrington said she would like to work with the new owners to promote the property as the process continues.

Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk said the apartments have always been a good neighbor to the community, and he hopes they will be a draw in the competitive Wheaton real estate market.

"It gives people in Wheaton another choice other than a condo or townhouse purchase" he said. "121 obviously heightened competition in the town, and I think any good owner or any good businessman is going to rise to the occasion and I think Draper and Kramer has."

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