New owner turns back clock for Hostmark

POULSBO — Sitting under a wide sun umbrella reading a magazine, Jeraldine Bolgen doesn’t take much notice of the construction happening all around her.

POULSBO — Sitting under a wide sun umbrella reading a magazine, Jeraldine Bolgen doesn’t take much notice of the construction happening all around her.

Even though it’s expected to last about four months.

The 18-year Hostmark Apartments resident prefers to think of the good those hammers and backhoes will do.

“Goodness sakes, you have to be disrupted once in a while or you get stuck in a rut,” Bolgen commented on the noise.

Last week marked the beginning of a major facelift of the Hostmark Apartments by new owner Hostmark Village Concern LLC. Encompassing safety and structural renovations as well as the addition of new facilities, the project is expected to be completed by Nov. 30.

In January, the 120-unit apartment complex was purchased by California non-profit Community Housing Assistance Program, Inc. (CHAPA) through a $835,000 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. That purchase created Hostmark Village Concern LLC, a tax credit partnership, which is a partnership between CHAPA and related capital corporations and private investors.

“The property was recently purchased by the new owner with the intent of making upgrades and maintaining it as affordable housing for years to come,” commented Jennifer Wood, Portfolio Manager for the Hostmark Apartments.

More than half of the facility’s residents earn less than 60 percent of the area’s median income. Hostmark units are primarily rented by senior citizens.

Renovations include replacing of the majority of roofs; replacing and restoring drainage systems; performing structural improvements; installing energy-efficient systems in units; creating more handicapped accessible sidewalks and parking spaces; repairing and enhancing sidewalks; and adding hard-wired smoke detectors.

“The owner had a limited amount of money to spend on this project and they chose to first focus on safety and structural problems,” Wood explained. “Then, before looking at marketable things, they wanted to next look at what the residents wanted.”

Making improvements to sidewalks and curbs at the complex was actually an item that was added to the work list after residents were surveyed on their needs.

Ten-year Hostmark resident Ruth Dodrill said she wasn’t looking forward to living with construction until November, but she definitely felt the renovations were needed. She said the stormwater enhancements were the one thing she was happy to see because she knew of a few units where stormwater ran into the apartment’s foundation, rather than away from the unit.

“I know it’s been at least 10 years or more since anything was done so I think it’s warranted,” Dodrill said.

Besides safety and structural projects, the work will also include the construction of a new community center for residents. The 2,922-square-foot building will be built in place of a current parking lot off 6th Avenue. It will be able to accommodate about 100 people at a time, a capacity none of the current communal rooms at the complex have. The Hostmark Apartments office will also be relocated to the site of a current, smaller community room about 50 feet east of the new community center.

The site is close to the driveway entrance of the complex and to a large parking area.

“The new office will be right on the corner, central to the post office and anybody else coming in,” Dodrill said.

The new office will also be more handicapped accessible than the current structure.

The space that currently houses the office, located much farther from the driveway, will be turned into a smaller community room for residents. A private office is also planned to be included in that structure to house a social service coordinator that may be provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“I think Hostmark is a fabulous community and the owner recommended what many have believed was lacking was social services,” Wood said. “We want to provide more enjoyable living and quality of life for our residents.”

No residents will be displaced during the construction and no parking spaces will be lost to the project.