Residents at a 3-year-old apartment complex near North Charleston’s trendy Park Circle area have been notified they must move out by the end of the month because of structural safety issues.
The management of the Flats at Mixson sent tenants a letter dated Monday, when the city filed a building violation notice with the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas. The contents of the legal filing were not immediately available on the court website.
Spokesman Ryan Johnson said the city sent a letter to the Mixson property owner indicating a need to begin plans to remove residents. He said the city’s Public Safety and Housing Board will meet May 23 to determine the condition of the buildings and what needs to be done to solve the problems.
Elliott Howells has lived at Mixson about three months and said he wasn’t looking forward to finding another place on a time crunch. Residents must remove all belongings and vacate their units by May 31 at 6 p.m. A moving allowance will be provided, according to the Mixson letter.
“I knew it was under construction, but I didn’t know it was this bad,” he said. “I just started looking (for another apartment) like an hour ago.”
Mixson officials expect the city to obtain an order requiring that residents move out of the 268-unit property, according to the letter from management company Greystar. As a result, all leases are being terminated over “concern that the buildings are not safe for long-term occupancy due to water intrusion which has caused structural issues.”
Management of the apartments at 4500-4501 Mixson Ave. said there was no immediate safety threat.
The Flats at Mixson was developed by Atlanta-based real estate giant Jamestown Properties. It was built off Durant Avenue in 2014 and has been plagued by construction defects.
The property owner, a Jamestown affiliate called The Flats at Mixson LP, filed a negligence and breach-of-contract lawsuit in August against several contractors it had hired.
Spokeswoman Callie Wamsley said in a Monday night news release that the company filed the suit in an effort to bring resolution to ongoing issues and assign responsibility for damage.
The company said in the lawsuit it noticed cracking in the stucco exteriors a few months after construction was mostly completed. The builder then determined that all of the outside surfaces would need to be completely replaced, and that the job could cost more than $18 million, according to the complaint.
The case is pending. The property owner is seeking damages of more than $20 million.
This isn’t the first time tenants have been forced to move out of the Flats at Mixson.
According to the lawsuit, the North Charleston Fire Department and Building Department sent a letter last July saying that repair work at one of the structures “made it unsafe for the building to remain occupied and ordered Mixson to vacate the premises.”
“Mixson expects similar notices to be issued if and when other buildings at the project are repaired,” the lawsuit states.
The apartment owner also said in the complaint that the repair work and “constant negative publicity of the construction deficiencies have ruined the reputation of the project, thus causing Mixson to lose and continue to lose revenue.”
Bill Wilder, who has lived at Mixson since May 2014, said he should have seen the trouble coming but was shocked when he got the letter. His apartment flooded after he moved in and management tried at the time to get him to move out, he said.
“I love this place; I love living here,” he said. “It’s a great concept and now a sad story.”
He credited management for doing the best it could after being “dealt an impossible hand.”
Wamsley said a timetable for restoration and a reopening was not available but that Jamestown remained committed to Mixson. She added that the team would continue to keep the community informed and look for opportunities to provide support.
“The residents’ safety remains a paramount concern to Jamestown and will continue to be a main priority moving forward,” she said.
Reach Melissa Boughton at 843-937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.