Work progressing on Hopewell apartments closed by sewage
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
May 6, 2013, 11:19
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Kyle Stephenson, President of KRS Holdings, said many of the units at Prince George Terrace are in “incredible” condition, yet at least 2 buildings are boarded up and unoccupied.
HOPEWELL — In February of 2012, Assistant City Manager for Development March Altman started receiving calls for raw sewage in some apartments at Prince George Terrace. Upon further investigation, it was determined the apartments were unfit for habitation and residents were moved out. Now, more than a year later, KRS Holdings, based in Richmond, is working to give the apartments new life.
Once a property is considered derelict, or unfit for habitation, the owner is given 90 days to either submit a plan for renovation or a plan for demolition. Before that 90-day window had expired, KRS submitted a plan for renovation. Altman said the main concern in the plan was addressing the issue of the sewage that had seeped into the apartments. He said part of the plan had to include a study addressing a permanent solution to the plumbing problem, not just a temporary solution.
“We met with KRS to discuss renovation work and their plan they submitted which addressed our concerns,” Altman said. “We want to make sure the issues causing the problems is resolved, such as whether the mold clean up issues were resolved, and then we can move forward with the renovations of the units.”
Kyle Stephenson, president of KRS Holdings, remains optimistic about the apartments at Prince George Terrace. He said currently the apartments are in “incredible” condition and there is a waiting list to move people into the buildings.
“We do have a waiting list,” Stephenson said. “There is incredible demand in the city for clean, safe, affordable housing.”
KRS was made receiver of the property in March of 2012. A receiver is defined by the court system as a person appointed by the court for the protection or collection of property that has become the subject of claims, such as belonging to a company currently undergoing bankruptcy or a company being liquidated.
KRS was granted receivership of several properties once belonging to Hopewell Partners LLC, such as Hillcrest, 600 E. Broadway and Prince George Terrace.
Stephenson said a company, based out of Norfolk, though he cannot recall the name, was used to determine why the sewage backed up in the apartments. At the time of press, Altman has not seen the results of that study.
Stephenson said the renovation work on some of the apartments is in full swing.
“We started the rehab work last year after we did the plumbing study,” Stephenson said.
The only permits that Altman’s office have issued in terms of construction work has been for electrical and mechanical, which was mainly to replace the HVAC units in some of the apartments. Stephenson maintained that there is not a problem at many of the units.
“We submitted a plan in January to replace the HVAC units but there’s been nothing really that I have found,” Stephenson said. “It’s really uneventful. We cleaned them [the apartments] up.”
Altman said, based on some of the earlier conversations with Stephenson, that the renovation work would be done within the next few months. In talking with Stephenson, he indicated the only renovation work that needed to be completed was on a building that had sustained fire damage last year.
“The units are in incredible condition. They have beautiful hardwood floors,” Stephenson said. “The building that had a fire has not yet been reopened.”
In terms of submitting everything needed for renovation work, Stephenson said he believed that everything was in line to move forward and possibly move residents into the apartments fairly soon.
“We believe we have kept the city aware of what’s going on,” Stephenson said.
Though Stephenson maintains there are no major problems at Prince George Terrace, Altman remains firm that the plumbing study needs to be submitted before residents can move back, noting KRS has not submitted a permit for occupancy at this time.
“It is important for us to protect future tenants that may move in there,” Altman said.