By Ann McAdams | April 15, 2021 at 4:26 PM EDT – Updated April 15 at 5:40 PM
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) – Repairs are underway at Brunswick Point Apartments, after residents in one building had to be evacuated Wednesday. In two separate incidents Wednesday, people using the stairwell were injured when the concrete stairs crumbled beneath them.
A regional manager for IRT (Independence Realty Trust), the publicly traded company that owns Brunswick Point Apartments, said displaced residents should be able to return to their apartments on Friday. The company was putting them up in a hotel while repairs to their stairwell were completed.
Residents in the eleven neighboring apartment buildings at Brunswick Point were not evacuated, but the Town of Leland did post red “Unsafe Building” notices on each building to alert people of the potentially hazardous conditions.
“I think the building inspectors went through the other buildings yesterday and that’s why they made the determination to condemn the other buildings which would start a process of due process for the property owners,” Leland Fire Chief Chris Langlois explained.
Apartment managers explained that repairs to the aging stairwells had already been planned, but the issues Wednesday expedited the repair work.
“We are aware of the situation and are working closely with the Town of Leland. Repairs at the property were already scheduled to be made this week and we expect to have them completed very shortly. The safety of all of our residents is our highest priority,” a company spokesman said.
Town officials say condemning a building is the start of a legal process in North Carolina to address unsafe structural issues. While that sometimes results in a building being demolished, property owners can make repairs to correct the structural concerns instead. Leland Communications Officer Hilary Snow said that to the best of her knowledge, the stairs were the only issue of structural concern at the apartment complex that prompted the town to begin the condemnation process.
It’s not clear how old Brunswick Point Apartments are, but managers said IRT had owned the property for four or five years. According to an online company profile, the real estate investment trust (REIT) owns and manages dozens of communities containing nearly 13 thousand apartment units across the country.
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