New Albany man has nine days to renovate before city tears down apartment

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by Bryan Baker

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 6:59 PM

New Albany, Ind. (WHAS11) -- A New Albany man has nine days to renovate a deteriorating apartment building before it could be torn down by the city.
 
According to tenants, there's a bug infestation, mold issues, and even animals living inside the walls of the East Main Street home that houses four families. Wood is also rotting around it, and its drawn complaints from neighbors.
 
"It's not an environment I'd like to have my kids in, but as long as we have a roof over our heads," one tenant, Tabitha Stephens, said.
 
The city gave local business owner Matt McMahan more than five months to correct extensive code violations.
 
"Unfortunately at this point, progress has not moved the direction we hoped it would go," Building Commissioner David Brewer said.
 
McMahan has until Sept. 16 to make changes, but he says he can't afford the changes historic preservation groups want him to make.
 
"There's no economic way to spend $50,000 on that property."
 
McMahan said he wanted to replace the wood siding with vinyl siding, but those groups aren't allowing that in order to keep the integrity of the old home. McMahan told WHAS11 News by phone he wouldn't live there but said the condition it's in now is not the condition it was in before the current tenants moved in.
 
"I don't have the money to move," Stephens said.
 
Neighbors have called McMahan a slumlord. McMahan says he's working with those historic preservation groups for them to buy the building. The groups want the building refurbished but not razed. McMahan also said he'd move the current tenants to some of his other properties, which don't have the problems the East Main Street building has.
 
City officials called the razing of rundown properties a "priority" for the Mayor, because it would hurt property values. It's part of the city's master plan to develop Main Street into a corridor for the new Midtown area of New Albany.
 

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