Lerwick Road was hit as hard as any in the Sacramento region by the wave of foreclosures. This left a neighborhood that already was struggling in danger of slipping into blight and the crime that inevitably accompanies it.
At the time of EPO’s initial investment, the Lerwick Road neighborhood was among six identified as the most troubled in Sacramento County. The street was known to law enforcement as a consistent source of problems for more than 20 years and had resisted several attempts to revitalize it.
Despite this decline, the neighborhoods surrounding Lerwick remained relatively stable. To EPO, this indicated a neighborhood with the potential to stabilize and become the kind of place families could feel proud to live in.
EPO followed its model on Lerwick Road – eliminate checkerboard ownership of rundown homes, remodel dilapidated buildings into homes that are a source of pride for the residents, attract responsible tenants to become partners in the neighborhood’s well-being, and manage the properties carefully.
Calls to service on Lerwick Road dropped dramatically once EPO Development’s buildings were completed and occupied.
Norcade Circle is a complex of 27 buildings that Sacramento County identified as one of its most troubled neighborhoods back in 2005.
Families who live here face persistent crime. Drug activity and violence keep many of the residents living in fear. Homes built in the 1960s have fallen into disrepair. Many had been vandalized and stripped of everything that could be used or sold.
The homes were owned by a variety of investors, few of whom lived in or near Sacramento. These Bay Area or Southern California investors were seldom seen on Norcade Circle. EPO purchased ten foreclosed buildings in the area, remodeled them and began managing the properties carefully to reduce crime and blight.
With its high-quality rehabs, attentive management and vigorous involvement on the homeowners association board, EPO has been instrumental in turning the area into a thriving, attractive neighborhood. Calls to service dropped 90 percent two years after EPO established itself on Norcade Circle.
EPO began working in the Fruitridge Vista neighborhood in 1997.
The County of Sacramento had identified the area as a “Priority 1” neighborhood for the extensive crime and blight families there had to face. Many of the homes were in near ruin, with vandalism and decay rendering unoccupied homes uninhabitable.
From August 1997 through February 1998, EPO purchased nine fourplexes and began remodeling them. The philosophy at work here was one that would be repeated throughout EPO’s history: buy homes in distressed areas, remodel them to a high standard where they would attract tenants willing to participate in making their community a better place, and manage the properties carefully.
In 1998, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency approached EPO with an offer to help in Fruitridge Vista. EPO accepted this offer, partnering with SHRA to purchase and remodel an additional 14 buildings in the complex. This consolidated ownership of a majority of buildings in the troubled area and put an end to the prevailing standard of absentee ownership and lackadaisical oversight.
EPO finished a thorough rehabilitation of the Fruitridge Vista buildings in 2000. For EPO, this represented not an end to its association with Fruitridge Vista, but a beginning. The company partnered with other owners to invigorate the homeowners association and help bring order to the neighborhood. That work continues today, and its effectiveness is seen in the tidy homes and quiet streets of Fruitridge Vista.
The neighborhood no longer appears on the county’s priority list of troubled areas.
Nedra Court Head Start
In 1998, EPO purchased a dilapidated fourplex on Nedra Court with the hope of beginning the process of revitalizing that neighborhood.
Soon after EPO purchased the building the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency approached EPO with the idea to make the building into a Head Start preschool. EPO quickly changed its remodel plans and began a five-year process of fundraising, planning and problem-solving to bring this school to the neighborhood.
Today, a building once deemed unfit for people to live in is a thriving, clean and well-maintained school where 40 children are getting a boost in their preschool years.
We’re as proud of this little building as we are of any of our projects. To us, it stands as a symbol of what can happen when local developers and housing administrators take an interest in more than numbers – when they focus on the people who make up a neighborhood.
Sacramento is our home, and we’re proud to play a role in making our city a better place for people who are raising their families here.