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Tygracon Properties revitalizes old Franklin Apartments in Belleville

Rewind just 18 months ago, and the old Franklin Apartments property at 4 N. 96th St. in Belleville was vacant, run down, and had squatters living in it.

 “At first look, it was a mess,” said Vic Gilpin, co-owner of Tygracon Properties. “But, the building was solid, had great bones, and given that, we saw an opportunity here to save this property and reinvest on this side of town.”

With that, the building was overhauled, and the newly renovated Signal Hill Apartments came to be. The building got more than just a quick facelift; in fact, the company installed completely new plumbing and sewer lines, electric, HVAC, windows, and a roof. All the floors were replaced or refurbished to their original integrity, a bedroom was added to each of the units, and the kitchens were finished with new cabinets, appliances, and custom granite counter tops, not to mention the newly enclosed sunporch in each apartment.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to invest in this area and attract folks who want to live in the types of properties we offer,” said Vic Gilpin. “All of the tenants at this property are professionals who work in St. Louis and who found West Belleville to be the best location for them in terms of commute time, cost of living, and safety.”

The property also provides tenants with covered, off-street parking with a gated entrance, a high definition security system, individual laundry hook-ups with storage, and patio and yard space with a privacy fence.

“The goal of our company is to provide quality housing, and to attract tenants who will contribute to the area positively,” said Karl Gilpin, co-owner. “There are a lot of properties in Belleville worth investing in because we find that our tenants like a combination of some of the older aesthetic components of the buildings with modern amenities, and if you do it right, there is absolutely a market demand for the upscale rentals we offer.”

In fact, three of the four units at the Signal Hill Apartments rented in less than six weeks, with one lease signed even prior to completion of work.

“I think with how quickly the leases were signed proves that if you put a quality product on the market with the right amenities, good tenants will find you,” said Karl Gilpin.

The Gilpin brothers also noted that the City of Belleville is a great place to invest in property because the city works closely with landlords and tenants to decrease the incidents of public safety violations and criminal activity in rental properties through its Crime Free Housing Program.

“The city is very willing to work with landlords who want to do the right thing,” said Karl. “Our experience working with the City of Belleville and its staff members has been positive and we appreciate their expectations for rental properties, because we share those same views.”

Courtney Johnson leads the leasing and property management office at Tygracon, which offers a variety of homes including single-family houses and apartments, and she works closely with all prospective tenants to help them find a home that will suit their needs. The company also works with tenants who aspire to own the property they rent, with purchasing options including a “lease with option to buy” agreement to help them achieve their goals.

To learn more about the Health, Housing and Building Department for the City of Belleville, visit To learn more about Tygracon Properties, visit For before and after photos of the project, visit

PHOTOS: Before (top) and after scenes of the worksite. In bottom photo, from left, is Karl Gilpin, co-owner of Tygracon Properties Inc.; Courtney Johnson, property manager; and Vic Gilpin, co-owner of Tygracon Properties Inc.


  1. Ann Reynolds on December 9, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Hooray for you for being interested in the West End”. I grew up I very close to these apartments and still live near. Thank You.

    • Karl on March 19, 2020 at 10:44 pm

      Thank you for your support!! Sorry, just saw your note.

      • Editor on March 20, 2020 at 5:05 am

        You are welcome!

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