After condemnation, Abbot Manor apartments is back on the market
The tenants of Abbot Manor apartments were given less than a day’s notice to evacuate their apartments after the city of East Lansing condemned the building due to severe water damage and structural issues.
In the middle of the spring semester, residents were forced to relocate – to uproot themselves and all their belongings – while the building underwent repairs.
That was March of 2016. Abbot Manor, located on Abbot Road north of MSU’s campus, reopened in August of 2016 after extensive renovations. Now, 18 months after the building was originally condemned, things appear to be back to normal.
“We were open last year, but because we had all the damage we were fixing, we didn’t have much of a leasing season,” Patrick Smith, CEO of WestPac Campus Communities, the property owner of Abbot Manor. “I think we ran about 80 percent occupancy last year, just because we finished the work just as school started in August of 2016. And in August of ‘17 now, we’re 100 percent leased.”
Smith says that when WestPac first purchased the property in the winter of 2015-16, they performed an inspection and found that the building’s roof was damaged. According to Smith and previous articles by the State News, WestPac had scheduled roof repairs for the first week of April.
“We found out it was damaged when we did our walk-throughs when buying into the property,” Smith said. “So we immediately went to the roofing company and put a deposit down for like, forty grand to put a new roof on as soon as they could. But they couldn’t get out there until the winter season stopped, because they couldn’t open it up for fear of rain or snow, and it would just ruin the inside of the building.”
Unfortunately, nature intervened.
“We had a snowmelt and a fast thaw, which caused a bunch of water pooling on the roof,” Smith said. “This happened not only once but twice, and it caused the roof to rupture and created water damage inside the units.”
In a routine city inspection in January of 2016, the city of East Lansing found 16 violations. Usually the property owner is given 30-40 days to complete repairs, but scheduling issues meant the city was not able to perform a second inspection until March 29. That inspection found extensive water damage and falling drywall. One tenant quoted in an April 6 article by The State News reported large cracks in his wall that caused his heating bill to skyrocket.
The city ultimately declared the building unfit for occupation.
On March 31, all the residents of Abbot Manor were forced to evacuate, taking with them what they could fit in the trunks of their cars as they were relocated to other apartments nearby.
According to Smith, WestPac spent the next months repairing the building.
“We went way over and above the required repairs from the city,” Smith said. “We completely put in the new roof, all new drywall, all new insulation, all new paints, all new carpets. Put in a new laundry room, upgraded the landscaping, put in a monument sign, and I personally lived on the property for balance of that whole school year to make sure things were put back together.”
Smith said the renovations are popular with the student tenants.