SE Rochester apartment building condemned with order to evacuate tenants

·2 min read

Mar. 22—ROCHESTER — A sprinkler system damaged over the weekend in a Southeast Rochester apartment building has resulted in the tenants being told they need to be out of the building by noon Thursday.

The 24-unit building at 1455 Marion Road SE has been condemned by the city's Community Development Department. It is one of three buildings in the Creekside Apartments complex.

"Due to the continued issues regarding the safety and welfare of the residents, the collective agencies felt it is in the best interest of the residents to condemn the property," Taryn Edens, manager of the Housing and Neighborhood Services, said in a press release sent late Wednesday. "If required violations are resolved, the property can be re-occupied."

The damaged sprinkler system was discovered Saturday when the Rochester Fire Department responded to a call reporting water was flooding an apartment in the building.

Edens was not available throughout Wednesday for comment regarding the violations, but Jenna Bowman, Rochester's strategic communications and engagement director, said the list of violations to resolve is lengthy.

The fire department documented broken windows, a missing patio door and a damaged fire-alarm system, in addition to the broken sprinkler system.

A notice posted at the building's entrances on Tuesday cites the failed sprinkler system, a lack of water service and the lack of building security.

"The various items are not little items," Bowman said of a list of things to be addressed by the building's owner.

Michael Buelow of St. Paul-based BB Housing, which owns the building under the umbrella of Phoenix Development, said repairs to the sprinkler system started Tuesday and were expected to wrap up Wednesday.

He said he thought repairs could be made in time to avoid the need to evacuate the building.

"I think we have avoided having to vacate any tenants," he said.

That doesn't appear to be the case, according to city and county officials, who said all tenants must be out by noon Thursday.

Olmsted County's Housing Stability Team has already been working with the tenants of the approximately 12 units that were occupied Monday, when condemnation efforts started.

Dave Dunn, the county's housing director, said the initial goal is to provide temporary housing in hotels and store the tenants' possessions. He said some tenants have already found alternative housing.

"People have been moving out over the course of the week," he said, adding that he is unaware of any available units in the other two Creekside buildings.

Once the families and individuals are moved out, Dunn said the county will continue working with the dislocated families to help them find permanent housing, in case the condemned building cannot be reoccupied.

"We are going to continue providing assistance based on the need," he said.