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Las Vegas (KSNV) — Mike Ballard is no longer surprised by what he sees.

“This is a two-bedroom unit,” he says. “When we inspected the property this is what we found.”

Walking through a vacant apartment near Sahara and Paradise, Ballard points to insulation falling from the ceiling, and trash strewn about the rooms.

A co-founder of Camino Verde Group, Ballard’s development team now owns the property.

One of five apartment buildings, the company has recently purchased with the goal to renovate and bring new life to the neighborhood.

“They’re smaller properties, not big ones like they’ve built in the suburbs,” says Ballard. “So we could afford to do that.”

So far the company has invested 15-20 million dollars purchasing the neglected 1960’s era buildings.

Renovations will include big-ticket items like plumbing, HVAC systems, and in some cases, new wallboard.

“We believe there was water damage on the roof,” Ballard explains pointing to the ceiling in one unit, “They replaced a portion of the roof, and the most damaged units they decided not to repair and they left them vacant for years.”

Tenant Cynthia White lives in a 20 unit building, where a quarter of the apartments are boarded up and uninhabitable.

She’s ready to see improvements.

“Yes, yes,” she says. “Clean up, fix the community. I sweep up trash, I do that. I have to keep it clean.”

White has lived in her apartment since October. She likes the location, just blocks from the resort corridor.

And new owners, are a welcome sight.

“If you get the bad people out, and we get them in, let’s do it,” says White.

Ballard also took News 3 into a renovated unit.

“We put in nice flooring, countertops, hard countertops. New appliances,” he says.

An example of what the company is doing. New air conditioning units already installed on the roof.

Basics that had been lacking for years.

“There’s a lot of developers building beautiful products downtown,” says Ballard. “But then those rents for a new product have to be $1,500 a month on average where we can provide housing for $800-$900 a month.”

And according to the Nevada State Apartment Association, those numbers track.

Rents in the second quarter of this year averaged $1,322, a $200 jump from one year ago.

Average vacancies hovered near 4.3%.

Ballard says if additional properties in the area were offered for sale, the company would be interested.

One in particular, a brightly colored building with every door and window, boarded.

“You’ll see a building on the street where somebody took it and converted into an Airbnb and then shut it down during Covid,” he says. “So we lost units in the area.”