By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
After hearing a presentation Tuesday, the Mercer County Commission voted unanimously to approve a plan that would bring new apartments to the Bluefield area.
Michael Dektas, CFA director of Development-Miller/Valentine Group, spoke to the commissioners about a project that could put 30 to 40 apartments ranging from two to three bedrooms at a site off U.S. Route 52 near 84 Lumber. The site has approximately 5.1 acres.
The total number of apartments, and their cost, have not yet been determined, Dektas said after the county commission meeting. The plans also include a clubhouse, management and maintenance facilities, and “super energy efficient” features such as windows and appliances, he added.
“We still have hurdles with financing and everything,” Dektas said of the plans and the commission’s resolution supporting them. “This is a good first step.”
“What the county is approving is the concept,” said Janet Bailey, executive director of the Development Authority of Mercer County. “This is their support for the project. We really feel something like this will be very beneficial. It could be utilized by the students at Bluefield State College.”
Many of the plans for the apartment complex remain to be finalized, Dektas said. Rents could be $709 a month for a two-bedroom apartment and $819 for a three-bedroom, but it could be $550 for a two-bedroom and $650 for a three-bedroom.
According to study conducted by Bowen National Research, Mercer County has a “relatively high number” of older, non-conventional rental properties compared to statewide averages. Approximately 45 percent of Mercer County’s rental property was built prior to 1970, Dektas said.
The new property would not have rent subsidies, but potential tenants with rent subsides would not be turned away, he said. Building the apartments could take approximately a year if the project moves forward. They could be completed by the spring of 2015.