Residents Feel Pushed Out by University Expansion - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/31/04

Residents Feel Pushed Out by University Expansion

Armstrong Atlantic State University is expanding its campus to the adjacent property at Abercorn and Apache, which includes an apartment complex. Hover Creek Villas is now being turned into dorm rooms, and that means the current residents have to leave when their leases are up.

WTOC spoke with one resident who doesn't know what she's going to do. Amanda Best says she is one of the few tenants left who has not left her home. And she says Educational Properties Inc., an affiliate of Armstrong Atlantic, was practically shoving her and her son out the door.

Amanda and her 16-month-old son Brandon have been calling their apartment home for the last year. "It's cheap and affordable," she said.

But soon she and Brandon might be packing their bags, and Amanda says it's not by choice.

Renovations have already begun. Now the residential laundry room is gone. "It upset me because I have to go elsewhere to do my laundry," Amanda told us.

Also upset is Amanda's mother Jacqueline, who is getting calls asking when her daughter is vacating the premises. "She's a single mother on her own, just to know that someone is forcing her out of her apartment..." Jacqueline said.

After months of getting letters from Armstrong Atlantic, one in particular worried Amanda most, telling her her rent was going from $475 to $800. "It was a bit much," she said. "I can see if he increases the rent by $50, but by $325 was a bit much for these apartments."

After WTOC called Armstrong Atlantic telling them Amanda's situation, they said they just realized the letter was a complete mistake. "We had no intention of asking anyone to leave before their lease was up or increasing anyone's rent during the lease," said VP of external affairs Leary Bell.

Amanda's lease is not up until August. Until then, the only choice she and Brandon have is to count the days left in the apartment. "I don't want to be rushed out," she said. "I want to take my time to find another apartment."

Amanda is already looking for a new place to live. As far as the laundry facilities, Bell says hopefully the new machines will be put in before Amanda moves out in August.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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