Photography and text by Alina Patel, Contributing Editor
In downtown Durham, N.C., West Village Apartments is a part of the movement spreading throughout much of the Southeast, which focuses on the revitalization of dormant warehouse districts. Managed by Drucker & Falk, West Village is made up of historically rehabilitated warehouses that date back to the late 1800s and is just minutes from popular local attractions such as Brightleaf Square. West Village residents prefer an urban setting to the suburbs, and they enjoy walking or riding their bikes to nearby destinations. The community also has a WalkScore of 88 percent—a feature that any community would want to boast.
Sabrina Gendreau, property manager of West Village, proudly asserts, “Downtown Durham would not have developed if it were not for West Village.” With lots to offer, from restaurants to one-of-a-kind boutiques, the West Village community offers what any modern city dweller would want in his surroundings. Yet the community has taken care to not disturb the unique visual landscape of Durham’s metro core. The industrial buildings have been preserved, with the original brick and painted brick on the exteriors, as well as hardwood floors of pine and bamboo. Many of the apartments have large glass windows that afford generous views of the warehouse district, and one can see the exposed beams in the ceiling, lending an antique, yet luxurious, feel to the space.
One of the most noteworthy elements of the property is West Village’s Green Initiative project, which deals with sustainable design and practices within the community. West Village currently partners with Durham County, North Carolina Central University, Dr. Anita Bahi and TriTest, the Green Roof Evaluation Project. West Village has an underground cistern thanks to the project, whose focus is development of innovative designs for the treatment of storm water runoff. In various locations on the property—next to the pool, for instance—there are vegetative sand filters and bio retention cells that help reduce the amount of impervious surface area, which, in turn, help recycle storm water. This extra element helps add to the “urban yet natural” feel of West Village. The theme of recycling and green responsibility goes from the reuse of old buildings, down to the very rain that falls upon those historic structures.
“Word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing tool when it comes to advertising for West Village,” says Gendreau. To help keep resident retention up, the office sends out renewal letters; the staff also calls residents throughout the year to listen to what is expected. For example, West Village has recently updated the fitness center to keep up with the residents’ needs. The community also hosts a number of events to make residents feel more at home. Every first Friday of the month there is a resident breakfast. There are pet play dates organized, and seasonal parties are thrown throughout the year. There is also a Tots for Love toy drive through the Triangle Apartment Association, as well as the Durham Food Drive and the Shoe Drive for Triangle Residents.
Perhaps the best description of West Village is from an actual resident, who says, “It’s really not possible to overstate the place…They’ve done a great job turning a piece of Durham’s history into an ideal living space—it’s the perfect mix of old feel and modern flair.”