Unique construction team continues rehab efforts in Dayton

A unique construction crew in Dayton which has rehabbed dozens of homes and apartments is back on the job.

The PepZee Realty teamis primarily women.

“About 75-percent of us are women, but it just worked out that way. It was not by design,” said Neva Clark, PepZee director of maintenance.

Clark and Brenda Mendizabal started as real estate investment partners but became frustrated by a contractor who took six months to rehab a two bedroom house.

“We thought, ‘There absolutely has to be a better way. It’s got to be quicker, more cost-efficient,’ so we started educating ourselves,” Clark said.

Clark learned the plumbing trade from her father and Mendizabal had experience as an electrician, so they decided to gather a team and rehab the properties themselves. They helped create PepZee Realty eight years ago with investor Gary Zaremba.

Their rehab efforts primarily have been in one area of Dayton but the company recently has expanded to Trotwood and Miamisburg, said Mendizabal.

“We have probably rehabbed about 80 different buildings just in the Five Oaks area. You can get to almost every one of our 300 apartments in about a 10-minute drive,” Clark said.

A team of six women and one man are tearing out the walls, cabinets, and ceilings of a seven-unit apartment building that has been vacant for two years at 115 Bennington Drive.

Clark estimates the building will need $100,000 in repairs and upgrades to get it up to code and ready to rent.

“The cost is there, but the reward is much greater. It’s fun to take something and recreate it and make it safe for people in this area that normally don’t get safe housing,” Clark said.

Mail carrier Rob Pantall, who has been driving by the apartment building on Bennington for a year, said he’s glad to see the overhaul taking place.

“It was pretty run down, so it’s really nice to see that someone’s taken an interest in bringing the thing back to life,” Pantall said.

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