Sunrise Apartments to be razed, tenants must move out by Aug. 1

Sunrise Apartments, a local Apartment complex next to Kent State, is no longer leasing out appartments. Students planning on living in the apparments for the upcoming year are now stuck searching for a new place of residence.

Drew Parker

Current and potential residents of Sunrise Town House Apartments are being forced to find new housing before Aug. 1 despite no official warning from a landlord.

Residents learned informally through word-of-mouth and office visits this month that the complex—located on Rhodes Road directly behind the Child Development Center—is being demolished in early August. Although the decision to sell was made months ago, information was kept from tenants until mid-July.

In January, a Columbus-based company called Hallmark Campus Communities finalized plans to purchase Sunrise Town House Apartments to build a new 615-bed complex.

Hallmark Campus Communities President and CEO Rick Kirk said the new complex will be ready for residency next summer and demolition will begin shortly after the Aug. 1 move-out deadline.

“They haven’t done a very good job of informing people,” Kirk said. “That was (Sunrise’s) choice. I don’t know why they chose that, but it has obviously upset some people. We’re doing the best we can to accommodate people.”

Officials at Sunrise Apartments declined to comment on the situation.

Kirk said he was not aware of when residents were told they had to leave the apartments.

“That’s the responsibility of the owner, not ours,” Kirk said. “We’re the buyer. But I presume that it hasn’t gone as smoothly as it should have.”

Hallmark announced their plan for construction of the new apartments in March in an email to Kent City Council members.

Kent State graduate Christina Thomas said she and her roommate have a month to find a new apartment after she was told July 18 her lease for fall was no longer valid.

“We’ve given them a check for $300,” Thomas said. “Now they’re telling us that they don’t have rooms, even though last week they said they did. It’s just really strange.”

Gregory Porter, junior visual communication major, said he has lived at Sunrise for a year. His roommate told him he wouldn’t be able to renew his lease July 12 and he would have to find another place to live before the demolition.

“I think they handled it terribly,” Porter said. “No official information was ever given to residents. Everything was just by word-of-mouth. Families are being forced out, and I would not be at all surprised if (Sunrise is) going to get sued.”

But Porter said he thought Hallmark handled the situation courteously.

“Hallmark has been doing everything they can by providing moving (assistance) and buying out contracts,” Porter said.

Sophomore Steve Matvey said he signed his lease in February and was not told until July 13 that the apartments were being torn down. He said he felt Sunrise’s treatment of current and future residents was unethical.

“The problem is that residents were not informed at all,” Matvey said in an electronic message. “When I talked to the manager on the phone she said they have been trying to sell the property for over two years.”

With little to no warning given from Sunrise, it could prove difficult for residents to find housing this late in the summer.

The residents of Sunrise Apartments are not alone in the hunt for available housing this summer, however. A similar situation occurred this month at Silver Oaks Place, an apartment complex for senior citizens. Residents were given a 60-day eviction notice stating that the complex had been sold to an Alabama-based building company.

Contact Summer Kent Stater Drew Parker at [email protected].