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Senior complex sells for $4 million
A Southern California real estate company was successful in bidding $4 million for the Ceres Christian Terrace during Friday's foreclosure auction.

Approximately 45 persons assembled on the steps of the Stanislaus County Courthouse to watch or participate in bidding on the 67-unit senior apartment complex. Bidding started at $2 million and ended at $4 million. Lou Nelman and Gary Collett of California Corporation of Westlake Village spoke about their plans for the facility at 1859 Richard Way.

"We will change as little as possible," said Collett.

"Their life isn't going to change for the worse," said Nelman.

California Corporation owns 2,800 senior apartment units nationwide.

"We have an excellent reputation," said Collett. "We're very well maintained. Our mission is to improve the lifestyles of our tenants."

Nelman said his firm typically introduces programs like computer classes and networking for seniors.

The auction officially separates the apartment complex from its founding agency, the Ceres Christian Terrace Corporation. Its board was led by Pastor Gary Hall.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiated the foreclosure because a lien had been placed against the facility, which broke the contract the corporation had with the federal government. The $450,000 lien was placed on the property by Pentecostal Church of God denomination. The lien was the result of a controversial promissary note which the Terrace corporation did not satisfy. The corporation initially fought the validity of the 1981 note, saying it was forged, then agreed to pay it. But officials could not find funding, said Hall.

The Pentecostal Church of God in Clovis has refused to comment.

When asked if the current staff of 15 would remain, Nelman said: "If it isn't broke we don't fix it."

Hall, president of the Terrace Corporation board, did not attend the sale. Nor did his wife, Della Hall, who is manager of the Terrace. But Gaylene Ramos, an 11-year employee of the Terrace, did.

"It's just heart-breaking," said Ramos, who provides housekeeping and security services at the facility. She said she hopes she can keep her job noting "It's hard to find a job. I'm 55."

Collett said he is certain the sale will go through. His company has 30 days to secure funding and sign the use agreement. The company must pledge to run the facility as an affordable housing for its residents. Those living in the 67 units are either 62 years or older or make less than $19,000 on Social Security.