Evelyn Avenue resident makes investment in neighborhood

Jenna Stonecipher is renovating this four-unit, 1947 apartment building on Evelyn.

Jenna Stonecipher inspects a bathroom before work begins on her new property.

Where most neighbors saw an eyesore, Jenna Stonecipher looked across the street and saw opportunity.

The 26-year-old executive assistant to Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell lives in an Evelyn Avenue triplex she has been renovating with her fiancé, Eric Williamson, since moving from the University area last July.

While she loved her new neighborhood, every morning she looked out her bedroom window at a brick fourplex apartment across the street. It was dilapidated, with only one remaining tenant, missing floors in one unit and squirrels peeking out from holes in the eaves. A downstairs bathroom had sat waterlogged and moldy after it was flooded by a water leak.

Stonecipher knew it could be hurting her property’s value. Even worse, the building was about to come up for tax sale. Fearing the next buyer could have been an out-of-town investor with little reason to improve it, she took action.

“If that property had gone to tax sale … it would’ve sat there looking bad for at least another year and then, who knows what kind of an investor would’ve bought it,” she said.

In a last-ditch effort, she rounded up the money to purchase the property, closing on a Dec. 31 deadline to pay the back taxes.

Now, less than a year into her real estate career, she’s tackling her second renovation project, and hopes to move new tenants into the rehabbed 3,100-square-foot building in a few months. It’s a big project, but the 67-year-old apartments still retain some solid original features such as hardwood floors.

“It’s been a learning curve,” she said.

Stonecipher said she hopes to become more heavily invested in the neighborhood as a landlord but, as a resident, she’s also seeking to add value.

“That’s what’s so appealing about Cooper-Young, is that there are good people here and good people want to be here,” she said.

You can follow Stonecipher’s progress on 2165 Evelyn, along with her real estate advice, through her guest posts on the smarterlandlording.com blog.

-David Royer

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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