Vesta Corporation Celebrates Successful $9M Renovation of Villa Serena Community

(Weatogue, Connecticut) A senior living community that was the dream of an Italian immigrant was recently brought into the 21st century by affordable housing specialists, Vesta Corporation. The Villa Serena Apartments in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, was renovated by Vesta Corporation through a unique public and private partnership that was seen as a model for affordable senior housing nationwide.

“We were pleased to be part of the team that helped to preserve this important and needed affordable housing community for Northeast Ohio Seniors,” says Lewis Brown, Executive Vice President of Vesta Corporation. “The collaborative nature of the project should be of interest to anyone who is concerned about the future of affordable housing for our rapidly aging demographic.”

The ribbon cutting celebration took place on September 21st and included Mayor DiCicco of Mayfield Heights, representatives from OHFA, and other partners of Vesta Corporation. Guests and residents enjoyed refreshments, live entertainment, and remarks from the multiple parties that were involved in the renovations.

A Dream to “Aid the Distressed”

Villa Serena was founded in 1967, the decade-long project of immigrant grocer Frank Alesci. He joined with like-minded friends to create the St. Francis Foundation to aid “the distressed and helpless”, particularly low-income seniors. They built the 242-unit apartment community in 1967 with a federal government Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-insured 202 mortgage that matures in 2015.

As 2015 approached, the 47-year-old community needed extensive renovations to continue serving its elderly residents. The St. Francis Foundation lacked the funds to undertake the needed repairs. The fate of the building and its residents hung on whether or not the Foundation could get backing from other government affordable housing programs.

History and Track Record

“Villa Serena and the Saint Francis Foundation elected to partner with Vesta Corporation based on its history of successfully redeveloping affordable housing communities both in and outside of Ohio,” says Thomas Pitrone, the St. Francis president, who spearheaded the effort to find financing for the renovation. “Vesta’s commitment to building learning/community centers and providing social services when possible was another important factor. We’re incredibly pleased with the renovations.”

Addressing the Full Range of Needs

Villa Serena’s $9,700,000 in capital improvements included new carpeting, flooring, paint, cabinets and fixtures. Major building systems and common areas were also upgraded. A new sprinkler system, energy-efficient roof system, and other improvements are now compliant with Ohio’s environmental standards. General contractor Marous Brothers Construction, of Willoughby, Ohio, managed the construction of the project.

About Vesta Corporation

Headquartered in Weatogue, Conn., Vesta Corporation develops, manages and owns affordable housing. Vesta specializes in redeveloping distressed, affordable housing communities, adding value through revitalization, sound management, and by investing in both the company’s real estate and its residents. Since 1981, Vesta principals Steven Erie and Arthur Greenblatt have closed approximately $1 billion in financing.  Vesta currently manages 29 affordable housing communities in Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington, D.C with nearly 5,000 apartments. Visit Vesta online at