Tryko’s Renovated Crestbury Apartments is Backdrop for Ford Documentary Featuring Community Leader Tawanda Jones
CAMDEN, N.J., – It would come as little surprise to anyone familiar with the transformation of Crestbury Apartments over the past two years that this once-troubled affordable housing rental property in Camden was selected as a backdrop for an inspiring documentary. Likewise, those who know Tawanda Jones would recognize why FORD MOTOR COMPANY chose to feature her contributions to the youth of Camden as a “Go Further Story.”
Both Mrs. Jones and Crestbury Apartments, which is owned by Tryko Partners, LLC, illustrate the energy and commitment toward positive change being made by individuals and organizations in Camden. In short, while the city’s challenges are well known, great effort is being made to create upward momentum.
A lifelong Camden resident and local community leader, Mrs. Jones is founder of the nationally known mentoring organization, the Camden Sophisticated Sisters (CSS) drill team. The group’s mission is to motivate, educate, discipline and empower youth through the structure of a drill team and the performing arts. And it is working. While Camden’s high school dropout rate is 49 percent, in Mrs. Jones program the graduation rate is 100 percent.
“It is beautiful to witness the sound of percussion bringing folks together,” Mrs. Jones said. “Music is a universal language and once you add dance it makes you feel you can mimic what you see. Thank you to Ford Motors for documenting unity in our community.”
Crestbury Apartments is not far from CSS’s new practice facility, the Dynamite Center. For Tryko Partners, Mrs. Jones’ recommendation that Crestbury become part of the documentary was an honor. The gesture recognized how far the 392-unit South 8th Street property has come in the two years since the Brick, N.J., private equity real estate group purchased it.
“Just as Mrs. Jones instills a sense of self-worth and pride in the members of CSS because she believes in them, we came into Camden with an understanding of the city’s potential,” noted Tryko Partners’ Jay Sims, first New Jersey asset manager. “From the outset, we focused on creating a better lifestyle and a stronger overall sense of community at Crestbury Apartments.”
$2.6 Million Transformation is First of Two Tryko Projects in Camden
Tryko Partners purchased Crestbury Apartments in 2013, supported by a PILOT program awarded by the City of Camden. The company recently completed a $2.6 million transformation at the community, with in-depth involvement of city officials. This included the incorporation of an innovative, high-tech security initiative in conjunction with the Camden Police Department; new, energy-efficient furnaces, windows and roofing; updated flooring; a playground; and upgraded lighting, landscaping and sidewalks. Today, Crestbury illustrates how successful public/private partnership can enhance quality of life, peace of mind and community pride.
In addition, Tryko Partners’ involvement in Camden recently expanded. This summer, the firm acquired Liberty Park Townhomes, also located on South 8th Street. With a new PILOT agreement in place, the firm immediately launched an approximately $1.5 million capital improvement program at the 184-unit affordable housing property. Ultimately, the company decided to more than double the improvement budget it committed to under the PILOT.
Tryko Partners’ involvement with Liberty Park promises another appealing option for people who want to raise their families in a safe, attractive community in Camden. According to Sims, its efforts there will complement the progress the city and housing authority already have made in the redevelopment of the entire Centerville/Liberty Park neighborhood.
Like Mrs. Jones, Tryko’s progress and commitment to Camden is a great example of the city’s potential and its plans and achievements toward revitalization and improving the quality of life for its residents.