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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Avant has a new name, and the new managers promise big improvements

The new managers of the Vistas of Annandale, the apartment complex formerly known as the Avant, promise major improvements.

Ross Management Services took control of the 1,065-unit complex from Kettler Management in February. To celebrate the name change and rebranding, Ross hosted a grand re-opening May 20 with a ribbon cutting, Bolivian dancers, food trucks, moon bounce, DJ, and children’s activities. 

Bolivian dancers entertain the crowd at the re-opening celebration. [Ross Cos.]
“We know the Avant didn’t have good reputation. Our goal is to provide better service and to make living at the Vistas of Annandale a better experience,” says Dawn Miller, vice president of marketing at Ross.

Ross changed the name to avoid “brand confusion” – there’s another community in Reston called the Avant – and because “we wanted to stand alone and we wanted to embrace the demographic that live here,” Miller says.

Ross plans to “improve maintenance and provide services and resources to the international residents that are not provided in other apartment complexes,” she says.

One example is the new Cares Team, consisting of a husband and wife who live on the property and work for Apartment Life, not Ross. The Cares Team will serve as a liaison between residents and managers and will plan community events a couple of times a month and welcome new residents.

The Vistas of Annandale. [Ross Cos.]
Another new initiative is a farmers’ market on Monday afternoons in front of the leasing office. It’s operated by the same man who runs the farmers market at Southern Towers on Seminary Road in Alexandria. “He not only provides fresh produce, but brings a meat smoker, teaches people how to cut a mango and open a coconut, and does magic for the kids,” Miller says.

The Vistas of Annandale also has a new resident services coordinator who will set up after-school programs and classes for adults – on topics like English as a second language, nutrition, and cooking – and also help new residents, especially those new to the United States, help set up email and checking accounts and provide other assistance.

The classes will be in a new community center that Ross is developing in one of the largest apartments. It is expected to open by the end of July.

Ross has hired “community resource officers” to patrol the complex at night. They will make sure the lights are working, approach anyone suspicious walking around at night, and “make sure residents are comfortable,” Miller says.

The ribbon is cut. [Ross Cos.]
Ross promises to make improvements to the common areas and address the trash problems that had plagued the Avant, including the dumping of construction materials on the grassy area between the complex and the beltway.

“When we took over, there was a huge trash problem,” Miller acknowledges. “They weren’t educating the resident on where to put trash.”

In addition, Ross is embarking on a five-year improvement plan to renovate apartments.

“We have not raised rents significantly,” Miller says, but tenants can expect to see their rents rise when the renovations are completed.

Current rents listed online range from $1,399 for a unit with one bedroom and one bathroom to $2,549 for an apartment with three bedrooms and two and a-half bathrooms. The complex is currently 92 percent occupied; special deals might be offered for long-vacant apartments.

“These are the biggest apartments I’ve seen,” Miller notes. Three-bedroom units are 1,600 to 1,800 square feet. Two-bedroom units range from 1,200 to 1,450 square feet.

“We’re very excited to make ourselves different from all the other apartment communities,” she says. “We want the Vistas of Annandale to be the very best it can be. We’re doing everything we can to be good neighbors of Annandale.”

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