Company wins bid to purchase Flats on 4th

December 3, 2018

HUNTINGTON — An abandoned Huntington hotel will soon have a new owner after a West Virginian company submitted an upset bid during bankruptcy proceedings to purchase the property.

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 since.

AB Contracting, of Point Pleasant, W.Va., was named as the purchaser Thursday after bidding $351,000 for the 4th Avenue property. It had been expected NR Deed of Indiana would purchase the property after entering an purchase agreement with Chase Bank, which owns the first lien on the property, for $300,000.

However, during a bidding period held after the agreement was reached, two upset bids were made. One was for $350,000 by Savage Grant LLC and the other was made by AB Contracting for $1,000 more. Cabell County officials last appraised the property at a value of $1.15 million prior to its downfall.

The company has 45 days from Thursday to complete the sale transaction. As part of the purchase agreement, they will own the property free of any liens or debts owed by C2C Realty LLC. Chase Bank held the first lien against the property for a mortgage and a second company had purchased a large tax lien against the building.

AB Contracting, which owns several properties throughout the state, most recently purchased the old Budget Inn motel, just off the Hurricane exit on Interstate 64, in September and tore down the building. Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards said he understands there are plans to build a new hotel at the location this spring.

The company also has several apartment, townhome and residential communities throughout the state.

The Flats on 4th was originally opened in 1962 as the UpTowner Inn. 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. In 2002 it was turned into The Upperclassman, an apartment building catering to Marshall University students, before it turned into the Flats.

Its woes started in April 2016 when 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.

The city attempted to keep squatters out of the building after it was abandoned by placing constructing fencing around the building at a cost estimated to be about $1,200, which was paid by Chase Bank. However the short, orange and plastic fencing was torn down by squatters within the day.

In October a late-night fire broke out inside one of the rooms at the facility. The room’s ceiling collapsed on firefighters, but none were injured. The fire was deemed suspicious as a result of Huntington police responding to a call of squatters at the building earlier in the evening and at least one person found inside the building at the time of the fire.

City attorney Scott Damron previously said he believed the building would have to be torn down because of fire damage and additional damage caused by squatters. He said he believes the EPA had been notified about potential environmental hazards concerning garbage around the property and the pool’s condition.

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

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