HEIDELBERG, Germany — For the past year, Capt. Scott Brown watched the building next door to his Patrick Henry Village apartment undergoing renovation.

Meanwhile, tenants fled his building, a 1950s construction project that is crumbling from disrepair.

So when local housing officials scheduled an open house to display a new five-bedroom housing unit, Brown went in to look around.

“All the renovated stuff is really nice,” Brown said. “This is a wonderful step up.”

Brown was among dozens to visit building 4470 recently, where some two-bedroom apartments were merged into a five-bedroom home. The building is one of two in the neighborhood under renovations for the past year.

The 411th Base Support Battalion held a three-day open house for visitors to walk through.

“People want to move into new places,” said Hanelore Thomas, a base housing officer.

“This gives people a chance to see what the housing office is doing.”

Contractors gutted the buildings during renovation. They installed new electrical wires, plumbing, walls, floors and also upgraded fire suppression sprinklers.

In the kitchen, the Army installed a heat-sensitive stove that alerts a distracted chef to a fire hazard, and even shuts off itself off.

Many neighbors watched the renovations in progress, hoping their building would be next on the list of the 28 buildings slated for renovation.

Renovations take from nine to 12 months to complete, Thomas said.

Heidelberg’s Army and Air Force Exchange Service decorated and furnished much of the model apartment for the display. Some of the furniture was the Army’s newly purchased designs.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jeff Hastings and his wife, Barbara, took a look inside Thursday afternoon.

The couple, who live in a nearby four-bedroom apartment with their three children, were curious to see what they are missing.

“This is very nice. There’s a lot of space we don’t have,” Barbara Hastings said. “I hope when people move in, they appreciate it.”

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