The rebirth of Warner House

WARREN – There is absolutely no doubt that Martin Hanawalt is pleased with the improvements to the Warner House Apartments, his home for eight years now.

”I’m never moving again,” said Hanawalt, 58, between sips of a second can of Pepsi Cola in the recently renovated community room inside the downtown apartment building. ”You’re going to have to carry me out of here in a box.”

Renovations worth about $10.8 million to the 60-unit building for low-to-moderate income elderly and non-elderly disabled or handicap citizens were revealed to the public Thursday.

”I love it,” said Hanawalt’s neighbor Jeffrey Edmonds, 54. ”It’s very nice. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Remodeling work to bring the building into the ”21st century” began in December 2012 and includes upgrades to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, new bathrooms and kitchens, bike storage and improve recreational spaces, like billiard and exercise rooms and an outdoor patio.

In addition, there was an addition to make the units more ”liveable,” said Laura Nettleton, an architect with Thoughtful Balance, a Pittsburgh-based architectural firm.

Other improvements include introducing daylight into common areas, increased wall insulation and energy efficient windows.

The reconstruction was done with about 60 percent of the residents staying in the building.

Financing for the improvements, in part, came from tax credits for low-income housing and a U.S. Bank equity investment of $8.8 million.

The building was built in 1924 as the Hotel Jonathan Warner. In 1980, it was reconstructed and developed by a.m. Rodriguez Associates inc. into the apartment complex, which opened in September 1981. Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority, a housing provider in Trumbull County, partnered with a.m. Rodriguez to win the tax credits and will assume control of the building in 15 years.