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Troubled Wood Ridge Apartments may see new owner soon

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TWC News: Troubled Wood Ridge Apartments may see new owner soon
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A new owner could be on the horizon for the troubled Wood Ridge Apartments in Southeast Austin, despite a laundry list of problems which have been left virtually untouched since an elevated walkway collapsed last May.

Closer inspection following the collapse revealed more than 700 code violations. The total fine has reached $336,000 and is still climbing.

"It just seems obvious that it is a loss-leader from the standpoint of how much they are going to have to put into it," Wood Ridge tenant Douglas Robb said.

Robb has been there since the problems first caught the city's attention.

"There was a notice posted that they were going to begin working on the property,” he said. “We haven't seen anyone."

But with fines mounting and little work done, a potential buyer has emerged. An attorney told YNN that his client will likely buy the complex, but won't say who his client is.

While the city waits for the deal to go through, they are working to ensure situations like this don't happen again.

"Wood Ridge was the exception to that rule where the city had to relocate people and put them up in hotels,” Kevin Leach with Austin Code Compliance said. “We're trying to get feedback from the community and see what some alternatives would be in the event that we get another property owner that refuses to cooperate."

While ideas proposed at a Thursday meeting may help in the future, current residents are facing the reality of the problem.

"It would just make no sense for someone to come in here and renovate them,” Robb said. “It would make more sense for them to come in, raze the property completely and start over."

The attorney for the buyer says his client wants to see current fines paid as well as have the property undergo an environmental appraisal.

As for Robb, he says he plans to finish out his lease and see what is available elsewhere.

"It is difficult to find anything comparable for the money here," Robb said.

According to George Somerville, the attorney for the anonymous buyer, the deal could close by February. He also said that despite rumors, there are no plans to demolish the complex.

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