Vacant apartment building gets buyer

September 21, 2018

HUNTINGTON — An iconic Huntington apartment building and former motel could soon be torn down after a deal was reached to sell the building to an out-of-state company that wants to redevelop the 4th Avenue site.

Flats on 4th, at 1415 4th Ave., was abandoned after its owner, C2C Realty LLC, a corporation run by Dennis Johnson II, filed bankruptcy earlier this year. The unkempt abandoned property has been littered with trash and drug paraphernalia, and several people have been seen entering and exiting the building. A pool with stagnant water is filled with trash as well.

Orange net fencing — paid for by Chase Bank, which owns the first lien on the property — was placed here and there around the property last week, but some has been trampled by those seeking to get inside.

According to Huntington City Attorney Scott Damron, an offer to buy the property for $300,000, made by NR Deed of Indiana, has been accepted by Chase.

“They are going to ask a judge to enter an order to approve the sale, and then they will have a period of time when other parties can bid higher amounts,” he said. “If not, the closing would take place 30 days after that.”

The property had last been appraised by Cabell County officials at a value of nearly $1.15 million, $409,500 of which accounted for the land value of the property’s 1.34 acres in downtown Huntington.

Damron said if no one else bids on the property, he expects it will be turned over to NR Deed within 30 days. Otherwise, it could be until Thanksgiving before the closing.

No matter who the new owner is, Damron said the city will keep an eye on the property.

“I think that once we have an actual buyer, if they don’t take immediate action to secure it, we can take action against them to enforce it,” he said. Flats on 4th opened in 1962 as the Up Towner Inn, featuring 144 guest rooms, a swimming pool, restaurant and club. It eventually became a Holiday Inn before the chain withdrew its franchise in 1997. It was closed in 2002 and later reopened as The Upper-classman, which catered to the Marshall University community, before it became Flats.

An April 2016 electrical and trash fire left more than 100 students displaced for three days and the building owner with damages estimated at more than $10,000.

Damron said because of damage that occurred in the building during the 2016 fire and criminal activity that has occurred since the building was abandoned, the building might have to be torn down. He also said he believed the EPA had been contacted about environmental hazards posed by the building and its trashfilled pool.

All interested bidders who have come forward so far appear to be in agreement that the building will have to be torn down, Damron said.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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