Nottingham on the Bluff

Nottingham on the Bluff is one of three apartment complexes that a Wisconsin company purchased in Clinton last month. The new owners plan to put $3 million into this complex, Nottingham on the Hill and Hawthorne Woods.

CLINTON — Three apartment complexes in Clinton are under new ownership after being purchased by a Wisconsin company.

A Brookfield, Wisconsin holding company owned by Robert M. Mangen and David Byczek purchased Hawthorne Woods Apartments at 1261 Gateway Ave., Nottingham on the Hill at 850 First Ave. and Nottingham on the Bluff at 202 N. Bluff Blvd. from Robert and Lyn Wiege last month.

“I’m 76 years old,” Robert Wiege said Thursday from his Florida home. “Sometimes it’s time to retire.”

Living in Florida hastened the sale, Wiege said, because it’s hard to manage apartment buildings from so far away.

Clinton-A LLC, Clinton-B LLC and Clinton-D LLC purchased the properties Sept. 16 for a total of $8.6 million, according to Clinton County records. The company will invest $3 million in the three properties, Byczek said Thursday.

“It’s a property that needs some help,” Byczek said. “There’s unlawful activity over there. There’s things that don’t create a safe environment for anyone in Clinton, Iowa.”

When you have 250 people living in one place, there are always some problems, Wiege said, but he wasn’t aware of ongoing criminal activity.

Byczek said residents informed him where drug activity was taking place in the complexes. “The residents there are wonderful people,” said Byczek. “They pointed out where the problems are. They brought us crack pipes,” he said.

Some residents are being evicted for that reason, said Byczek. Others are being evicted for non-payment of rent or other reasons.

“[We’re] just trying to make a safe, clean … environment,” Byczek said.

The new owners will invest in new siding, windows, parking lots and common areas, said Byczek. Apartments will get new carpet, countertops and appliances.

Byczek first looked at the properties in February, he said. Anytime he goes into an area he’s not familiar with, he talks to local people.

Byczek met Clinton residents at a corner diner when he visited, and they told him what they knew about the apartment complexes in question, including what Clinton police described as a violent crime at Hawthorne Woods Apartments in March.

The new owners are not currently taking new renters for the market-rate apartments, said Byczek. Right now they’re cleaning out the 24 vacant units in the three complexes and working with contractors on plans for outside upgrades in the spring.

During the winter, the owners will clean up vacant units and do maintenance for current residents. New residents will be vetted and must follow the crime-free agreement the owners will be introducing at these properties, Byczek said.

Charles Taylor has lived at Nottingham apartments for about eight years, he said Thursday. He didn’t receive an eviction notice from the new owners but said some residents on the other end of the complex had. He thought it was mostly for non-payment of rent.

Tiffany, who declined to give her last name, said she’s a little behind on rent but hasn’t received an eviction notice yet. She contacted the new owners to see how much she owes so she can seek help with rent. She hasn’t heard from them yet, she said.

When Tiffany moved in about a year ago, she found a needle underneath a car in the parking lot, she said. “I have kids. That’s not something we need here.”

Tiffany said her apartment is fine, but she does have some ceiling damage from a leak in the apartment above her. The former owners didn’t get it fixed.

At Hawthorne Woods, maintenance man Lewis Vaughn said the new owners are making improvements to the property, though they’ve been in possession for less than a month. “They’re doing a whole upgrade,” he said.

This is Byczek’s first venture in Iowa, he said. “We like Clinton. It’s a neat old river town,” he said.

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