COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Two years after it was closed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ralston Tower got a certificate of occupancy from the city today.
That means the historic century-old hotel turned into a low-income housing complex is on the verge of reopening.
WRBL got an exclusive tour of the renovated Ralston from the Atlanta-based owner/developer on Monday. The building is opening under new ownership.
The Ralston originally opened in 1914 as a 100-room upscale hotel.
The last couple of decades have not been glamorous.
Two years ago, amid political pressure from Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson and Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Drew Ferguson, HUD closed the Ralston.
It was project-based Section 8 housing. Infinity Capital Partners of Atlanta purchased it. And they are bringing it back as HUD project-based housing.
Here is what Gregory Jones, chief investment officer, Infinity Capital Partners, had to say about the project and the scope of the work.
“Anything that was compromised, any walls that were compromised at all we ripped out and redone,” Jones said. “So, you know, flooring had to be redone. The envelope … we did all new roofs, we did a bunch of tuckpointing. They’re actually working on a lot of the exterior stuff right now, just finishing that piece. But anything that would compromise what I call the envelope of the building was dealt with. So, you know, that that really helped first eliminate any leaking.”
And the infrastructure work was a large part of the construction cost.
“The biggest dollars that we spent here at the property were the major systems,” Jones said. “So, what we call MEP, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. So, I would say, oh, maybe not half the budget, but a big chunk was improving the plumbing, the electric, and some of that falls into the bucket of health and safety. For example, outlets were never grounded. That wasn’t when this building was built. That wasn’t a requirement. So we to ground all the outlets. Again, that’s a safety thing for the residents.”
Residents will begin moving in later this month. A rental office will be opening in the building in the next few days.
The owners have been cleared to rent about 80 units on the first three floors and open the common areas. Work will continue on the other floors with the project scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. There will be 266 units when the work is done.