City investigates apartments, some residents relocated


by MELISSA MAHADEO / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 10 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN  -- One day after nearly 50 residents were suddenly rushed from their homes, they gathered outside The Las Palmas apartment complex wondering when they can go back.

“The walls are cracked, and you can tell where the balcony is un-leveled,” resident Manuel Mendoza said.

Mendoza has lived at Las Palmas for six months with his wife and two children. He said the cracking walls are frustrating but not surprising.

Management is calling it a stroke of bad luck. They said the water heaters were replaced about two weeks ago, and now it seems time has taken its toll on the 1970s building.

“It just looks like natural causes, age, time, shifting of soil from looking at it right now,” Boone Nerren with management company AMZ Partners said.

Code compliance is checking every unit in the complex, but they said at this point they do not have the staff to check for these problems before they happen.

“There are so many of these, we are going to have to have a unit to go out and be proactive. Right now we can't keep up with what is being called in much less go out and look for others,” Ron Potts with Code Compliance said.

Twenty-one units were evacuated; 16 of them were filled with families. Wednesday evening the attorney for Las Palmas released a statement saying all but three of the units are now considered safe for their residents to return.

Management had some residents stay at a nearby Motel 6 Tuesday night. They are working to relocate the families still displaced to temporary homes.

Code Compliance and residents told KVUE the management is working to help all of the residents affected.

Read Las Palmas' statement in its entirety below:

“Safety at Las Palmas is always our number one priority. For that reason, in coordination with the City of Austin, we moved approximately 50 of our residents out of our complex on Town Lake Circle in southeast Austin last night. A framing issue in three units was discovered and is currently being examined by the City and our staff. We are pleased to report that after initial review, the City has notified us that all but these three units are considered safe for our residents’ return. We are currently working to return those residents to their homes and have secured temporary living accommodations for the remaining residents on site. Once a determination is made on the cause of the framing issue and an appropriate solution, we will update all of our residents. Again, their safety is always our number one priority."


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