Gerry York can take a building most people call a dump and turn it into a castle. Or at least he has the skills to turn old motels and apartment complexes into beautiful and useful buildings.
That's what he did with the Lakeview Village motel in Orem, and it's what he plans to do with an old apartment complex in Lehi.York plans to remodel the complex into a residential care facility for the elderly. He projects that by next fall the place will be converted to a 65-unit studio-apartment complex with laundry and kitchen facilities.
York said he's an expert on consolidation and rehabilitation on properties that are doomed. "I've done it, and I've done it successfully."
He said that when he bought the Lakeview Village Motel in Orem last December it was "functionally obsolescent" with about 50 percent occupancy. Employees didn't stick around too long either.
"We bought it and changed it in seven months," York said. "We spent half a million dollars and remodeled it. We asked everybody to leave."
The new apartment complex is called Lakeview Manor.
At first York had opposition from people in Orem over the renovation of the motel. But he said he hasn't seen any opposition in Lehi. Mayor George Tripp and City Council members favor the idea. When York explained his plans for the residential care center at a recent council meeting, all in attendance were excited about the proposal.
York said rehabilitating the Lehi apartment complex into another apartment complex is impossible. That's why he's turning it into a residential care center.
The center will have a colonial style. It should take about six months to renovate the building and property. York plans to start the project in February or March. Current residents at the complex will have to move out by next fall.
The facility will reserve 20 percent of its units for the low-income elderly. Residents will receive three meals daily, trips, walks, maid and laundry service, medication assistance and 24-hour assistance for personal care and grooming.
York hired Lynn Robbins, president of the Utah Chapter in Residential Care as his associate. He also hired Kent Walker, an architect who specializes in designing residential care.
Robbins said there is a real need for similar types of low-income care centers in Utah.
"Utah is one of three states in the United States that does not provide supplement for low-income elderly," she said.
Robbins runs a residential care center in Payson. She is opening another one there soon.