Huntington to fence off abandoned apartment building
HUNTINGTON - Huntington city officials have reached an agreement with bankers to have an abandoned Huntington off-campus student apartment building fenced in to curb criminal activity occurring at the location.
The Flats on 4th, at 1415 4th Ave. in Huntington, 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 there are signs that squatters are living in the facility. A pool with stagnant water has been filled with trash, as well.
According to city attorney Scott Damron, Chase Bank, which owns the first lien on the property, agreed to pay the city to contract a company to have construction fencing placed around the building. The cost is estimated to be about $1,200.
The fencing is expected to go up within the next couple of days. Damron said he did not believe the project would cost the city anything above what Chase Bank has paid.
The Flats on 4th was originally opened in 1962 as the UpTowner Inn and was one of the first modern hotels in the city. It opened with 144 guest rooms, a swimming pool, restaurant and club. Upon its opening, it was the host of the 1962 Miss USA pageant.
It operated for a number of years without a franchise before it became a Holiday Inn, which withdrew its franchise in 1997. A previous owner closed the motel in 2002 and it later reopened as The Upperclassman, an apartment building catering to Marshall University students, before it turned into the Flats.
In April 2016, an electrical and trash fire left more than 100 students displaced for three days before they were able to move back into their rooms. More than $10,000 in damages was estimated at the time.
While Chase Bank currently holds the first lien against the property, meaning it would be the first to be paid when the borrower defaults on loans, a second company has purchased a large tax lien against the building.
The bankruptcy trustee is working with the two companies to work out a possible purchase of the building.
However, 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.
Damron previously said he believes the EPA has been notified about potential environmental hazards concerning the condition of the pool and garbage around the property.
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