Columbus apartments scheduled for renovation, saved from demolition

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A Columbus apartment complex on the brink of demolition is saved by a new owner.

This will require more than a million dollars of improvements at Oak Manor Apartments.

“We figured out housing is a definite need, especially affordable housing, so not just housing but affordable housing, and it’s very close to the downtown area,” said Edmond Green, the new owner of the complex.

Green sees Oak Manor Apartments as an opportunity for the people who live here.

“I think that this area in Columbus, Mississippi is going to grow in the next ten years,” said Green.

Last year, city leaders voted to demolish the complex saying it is unsafe. Tuesday night, the council rescinded that vote but the building still has some issues.

“We have red-flagged that complex. What that basically means is that if the utilities ever get cut off, a tenant moves out, and the utilities get cut off then we would not allow them to turn the utilities back on until we’ve inspected each individual unit,” said Kenny Wiegel, Building Department Director.

The foundation of the buildings is solid. Now, city inspectors are giving the new owner 24 months to bring these apartments up to code.

“The structure is very good, brick structure, concrete foundation, brick, and concrete. There is also a lot of good electrical and plumbing so the copper is still here, wiring still here, a lot of hot water heaters, a lot of furnaces are still here and they’re in good condition actually,” said Wiegel.

Although the building has useful materials, the fixer-upper comes at a pretty penny.

Green is planning to put between $1.2 million and $1.6 million into the renovation. That calculates to between $20,000 to $26,000 per unit.

“The current residents will be relocated to the new residents as we get them ready. Right now we have 12 residents here and they’re going to go into the first 12 units that are renovated. We’re not going to move them back into the old units. They’re going to stay in the new units and move new people in the old units,” said Wiegel.

No date has been set for when renovations will be complete.

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