Old Eureka Gardens complex celebrates new renovations, now called Valencia Way

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s a new beginning for Valencia Way residents who once called Eureka Gardens home — if they would even call it that.

“I had mold actually in my bathroom. The paint was peeling off the walls,” a Valencia Way resident said.

Action News Jax has been reporting on the deplorable living conditions at the apartment for years, but now those days are over.

RELATED: Plans to fix Eureka Gardens, exclusive interview with new management

“I see a big difference in the change that they did,” Valencia Way resident Gertrude Martin said. “I like the layout that they did. I like how they came in and redid the apartment.”

A new owner brought in hope with $45.5 million in renovations. That included new kitchens, bathrooms and improvements to electrical and plumbing, but it wasn’t easy getting there.

“It was decided that we needed to replace 100% of the gas lines on the property,” said Chris Auvil, the Millennia Company’s director of design and construction.

Sen. Marco Rubio commemorated the day, remembering his role in the rehabilitation process starting in 2015.

“I just became so personally angry at the fact that we were getting played. The cruelty of it, we were getting scammed,” Rubio said.

He noted the issue of Eureka Gardens wasn’t a political one, rather a human one.

“I think it’s important for people to know there is a way for people to work together to make a result happen,” Rubio said.

Residents thanked all the agencies and companies involved in renovating the complex.

STORY: City leaders push to shut down local gentlemen’s club

“Thank you again, the Millennia Company, for putting your time and your money into our community,” a Valencia resident said.

Rubio said the work doesn’t stop here. He hopes to address other problems in the area with the same approach as did he at Eureka Gardens.

The renovations were funded by the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority, R4 Capital and owner contributions. The city of Jacksonville also provided a $2 million grant.