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New affordable housing breaks ground at condemned Brandywine site

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BATON ROUGE - It's been known as the poster child of blight, but the Brandywine Condominiums are about to get a facelift.

"We have a blight issue in Baton Rouge, this was one of the big eye sores, highly publicized. Often times, we do go in as a city-parish to tear those properties down. I think this is more of a desired route," said Bradley R. Sweazy, LHC interim executive director.

The complex has seen its fair share of crime. But now, under new ownership, 'Sherwood Oaks' officially broke ground Thursday and will become a more modernized apartment complex.

"The complex will be a combination of one, two and three-story buildings. There'll be a fitness center, a dog park. There'll be facilities here so that elder residents will be able to get exercise and walk. The idea is to make it safe, for it to be affordable and for it to be desirable," said Roy Maughan, manager of City Holdings.

Among the other issues at Brandywine, the units only had one meter each. Because of this, some former residents refused to pay their utility bills, which were eventually shut off.

"But there were so many people who were getting a free ride on it that it couldn't sustain, and that's what led to eventually the fact that utilities had to be shut off completely. In the future, since there is but one owner of the project, people will pay their money to the owner of the project. It'll include utilities. It'll include water. It'll include internet and the other amenities rolled up," Maughan said.

The $45 million project will provide more than 100 construction, administrative and service employment opportunities over the next few years to contribute to the growth of this community.

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