“We don’t want to fix up just a building,” says Al Goldstein of Pangea Properties. “We’re fixing neighborhoods, bringing them back.”

Goldstein and I are standing at 82nd Street and Ingleside Avenue in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Pangea bought the apartment buildings on three of the corners when they were foreclosed, rundown, and, in one case, occupied by squatters. The company’s goal? “Making [the buildings] into places where people want to live again,” Goldstein says.

The company owns 17 more buildings within several blocks of these. Since early 2009, Pangea—which Goldstein founded with two partners, Steve Joung and Nick Joung, and funded via institutional investors—has bought about 4,000 apartment units in 150 city and suburban buildings. It bought them all in distressed condition—and at distressed prices—and then gave them a complete overhaul. The repaired apartments have all new mechanical systems, appliances, energy-efficient windows, and security systems, as well as free Internet.

The clusters of revived buildings “make the surrounding neighborhood feel safer,” says Chris Milliner, a Pangea regional manager who oversees properties in Grand Crossing, Chatham, and other neighborhoods. “The tenants who come here know that we’re stabilizing things and won’t let it go.”

Next week, Pangea will receive a Good Neighbor Award from the Chicago Association of Realtors. Click through the photos below for a look at the company’s projects.