Monarch Ridge Apartments
Monarch Ridge Apartments (formerly Valley Brook Apartments) is a 240-unit apartment complex in 18 buildings on Gallant Drive and Gallant Place, off of Westchester Drive near Center Point Parkway in Birmingham's Apple Valley neighborhood. It was constructed in 1972 and primarily serves tenants with Section 8 vouchers for affordable housing.
In October 2006 the complex was targeted by the Birmingham Police Department's "Operation Taking It to the Streets" sweep, netting numerous arrests and citations. Between 2007 and 2021 the complex has been the scene of at least eight homicides. In October 2014 the complex was locked down for another Police sweep, dubbed "Operation Blue Storm", which netted 15 arrests and broke up a widespread scheme to bypass Alabama Power Company electrical meters.
The complex was purchased for $24.8 million in 2017 by Steele Properties of Denver, Colorado. The owners spent more than $11 million on renovations and upgrades to the property.
In June 2021 the City of Birmingham filed a civil suit against Steele Properties seeking to force the property owner to take steps to reduce criminal activity, failing which it could be closed down as a public nuisance. The parties reached a settlement in August, with the apartment owners agreeing to add a gate guard and security patrols, link their surveillance system to the Birmingham Police Real Time Crime Center, and contribute $15,000 to the city's Neighborhood Revitalization Fund.
- Robinson, Carol (October 29, 2014) "Operation Blue Storm: Police flood northeast Birmingham apartment complex to battle crime." The Birmingham News
- Godwin, Brent (March 9, 2017) "Birmingham area apartment complex bought for $24M." Birmingham Business Journal
- "City of Birmingham suing owner of Gallant Drive apartment complex over gun violence, crime." (June 4, 2021) WVTM13.com
- "Birmingham settles nuisance suit against apartment owner." (August 7, 2021) Associated Press/The Birmingham News