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Renovation proposed for Treasure Manor complex

| January 4, 2007 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

The possibility of Treasure Manor undergoing an estimated $1 million renovation pleases resident Ellie Creighton.

That's because remodeling Libby's 23-year-old senior citizen apartment complex would include replacing all appliances in the 32 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

"My refrigerator is about 20 years old and isn't frost-free," Creighton said.

The project, however, will only be done if financing comes through.

Evergreen International in Kalispell, on behalf of Treasure Manor, will apply to the Montana Board of Housing for federal tax credits financing.

As part of the process, the board of housing until Feb. 2 will accept citizens' comments regarding the need for affordable senior rental housing in Libby. Treasure Manor offers rental assistance based on income for 24 of its apartments.

Comments can be mailed to Montana Board of Housing, P.O. Box 200258, Helena, MT 59620, or sent by fax to (406) 841-2841.

Congress by May could then authorize the tax credits and the state would distribute them.

"We turn around, once awarded, and sell tax credits for equity dollars," said Gerald Fritts, president of Evergreen International. "We use the tax credits for improvement projects."

renovation to be completed by May 2008.

"Since it costs us a great deal of money to make the application, we think (the chances) are good," he said.

Additional proposed improvements to the complex at 610 Treasure Ave. behind Venture Motor Inn and Restaurant would include the heating system, which would mean installing new insulated windows and ceilings.

"Our approach there is to go through and do an analysis," Fritts said. "It usually means a change-out of the windows. The next thing as far as energy savings is usually the appliances. New appliances could make a tremendous amount of difference on energy.

The project also could involve replacing cabinets, flooring and plumbing fixtures.

"Once those things are revitalized, we can look forward to another 20 to 30 years," Fritts said.

Safety issues, including smoke detectors and access for the handicapped, also would be addressed.

"Codes change over 20 years and we need to make sure they're up to date," he said.

Assistance will be provided for those who would have to go elsewhere during remodeling.

"We would bring in a professional mover, pack up materials and move those to a storage location for the period of time," Fritts said. "Let's say it's seven days. We would then move them back and provide assistance."

Treasure Manor also will get a new owner. Current owner Treasure Manor Limited has made a purchase-sales agreement with Evergreen. Evergreen will form a partnership with a non-profit to be the general manager.

"Management will stay the same," he said. "Tenants won't notice any difference."

Fritts didn't want to name the non-profit because an agreement has not yet been reached.

To 68-year-old Ellie Creighton, it all sounds good.

"I've lived in Treasure Manor for 17 years," she said. "It was a good decision (moving here). I love it."