After 52 years of ownership by its previous proprietor, Rockledge Ventures LLC has purchased the 133-unit Hawthorne Towers apartment building.

In an April 1 announcement, Gebroe-Hammer Associates, which brokered the sale, said the building along Hawthorne Place sold for $38 million. It was previously owned by Hawthorne Towers LLC.

The announcement referred to the building as an “architectural pillar,” first constructed in 1962 and continually updated. It said the building “offers several market-unique community amenities such as a pool with sun deck and resort-style furnishings, outdoor grill and picnic area and on-site covered garage parking.”

New manager Marc Watkins told Montclair Local that the company is excited to take over a “great building in a great location,” with some tenants having lived there for decades. 

“It is well-positioned for upgrades,” Watkins said.

He said management held a meeting with residents in the lobby last week to announce future upgrades and to introduce the new staff members who will be managing the building. 

The first upgrades will be to fix the underground parking garage, which has been experiencing some flooding, and to power-wash the building’s exterior, Watkins said. Other plans include an updated lobby, elevators and laundry room, and a new package room, he said.

Security will also be a priority, Watkins said, with the installation of a new intercom video system, cameras throughout the building and new LED lights.

“We want to improve the flow and security of the lobby,” he said.

The building currently has a few vacancies, and those apartments will undergo renovations and should be ready for leasing in about 30 days. Watkins did not comment on the rents for these apartments.

The Montclair Township Council recently authorized a settlement with a group of landlords after a nearly two-year battle over rent control. Under the settlement, Montclair would pass an ordinance that restricts annual increases to 4% for most residents of buildings with four or more units (as well as buildings with two or three units, if they’re not owner-occupied), and 2.5% for seniors. 

The ordinance would also allow a one-time 6% increase. It allows increases of any amount when apartments are vacated, but no more often than once every five years. 

Watkins said the company also plans to make an application to the township to install solar panels.

“It is a great building that we will make even better,” he said.

Watkins said that Rockledge Ventures plans to keep and maintain the building: “We don't buy and flip,” he said.

The company also owns buildings in Orange.

Hawthorne Towers contains studios and one- and two-bedroom units. 

“Hawthorne Towers has been and continues to be an iconic landmark within this tree-lined neighborhood and all of Montclair for that matter, thanks to lifestyle amenities and features typically not associated with this trendy, high-population-density municipality,” David Oropeza,  Gebroe-Hammer Associates’ executive managing director, said in the release. 

“It is this uniqueness that attracted the buyer, along with the apartment property’s tremendous curb appeal and Montclair’s sustained tenant pipeline.”

Those post has been updated; An earlier version of this post incorrectly described the location of Hawthorne Towers.