Built in 1965, the Moorestown Oaks on Camden Avenue near Lenola Road have been undergoing a redevelopment after the Moorestown Planning Board cited numerous violations in the 32 two-bedroom units spread among five buildings.
Last February, the township ordered the closure of Building 3 because of structural and roof damage. Additional complaints of black mold and nonworking smoke detectors forced some residents to be relocated.
Shortly thereafter, JVS Properties LLC, owned by Moorestown businessman Joe Ventresca, bought the apartment buildings and has been renovating them for the last three months.
The Oaks have had a long saga of problems, according to Ventresca.
“The apartments have been a burden for the township in recent years because the other management company did not take care of them,” he said. “So, the township was very happy when we bought it.”
JVS Properties paid $2.3 million for the structures and has been investing substantial sums into the redevelopment efforts, according to Ventresca.
“First, we set out to evict those people not paying rent,” he said. “Then, we got down to business on the repairs.”
Ventresca said the bulk of the work has been installing new roofs, structural overhauls and courtyard repairs on the two-story townhouses. New fences, siding and curbing are also planned.
The extensive repairs should bring in credit-worthy renters, according to Ventresca.
As of last week, eight units had been fully remodeled, and six more units were near completion.
“So far, we’re doing good,” Ventresca said. “We’ve been able to rent most of the units that have been renovated to date.”
Ventresca explained after the units are completely rehabbed, they will be in a competitive category with nearby on New Albany Road, which commands nearly $1,500 a month.
“As we have brought them [the Oaks] back to life, rents will be close to $1,200 a month,” Ventresca added. “In the past, the units were only renting for about $700.”
The entire process is expected to take three years, he said.
Ventresca and his company own 25 properties in town, which have to lease some of his rentals. , and are some of the businesses that have moved onto Main Street in recent months.
Born in Italy, Ventresca and his wife have lived in Moorestown since 1987 and have raised two children.
Tom Ford, director of community development, said back in the summer of 2010, and prior to the ordered closure of the Oaks building, further research by the planning board had prompted a the area from the Oaks to the corner of .
“But any proposals for redevelopment were being driven by the condition of the Oaks,” Ford said. “Since Joe took over, it has added a positive to the Lenola area in this strained economy.”
Last summer, the rebuilt Main Street Bridge on County Route 537 was reopened, serving as a gateway between Moorestown and Maple Shade.
Further along Camden Avenue, the in November, and the Edge Salon & Spa is scheduled for a January launch.
“I have contributed and invested a lot in Moorestown,” Ventresca said. “It is important for me to spruce up the town I live in.”