NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The tenants of Seaview Lofts, some of whom are sleeping in their cars, will have to wait at least a couple more weeks before they can return to the homes they were forced to leave three months ago.
Attorneys for the property owner and the city appeared in circuit court Friday to provide updates on the emergency repairs required to lift the building’s condemnation order. The major issues—the boiler and the elevators—remain unresolved, but some progress has been made overall.
The attorney for Seaview, Nicholas A Nunes, expressed frustration with the difficulties Seaview has experienced with contractors and getting some of the replacement parts, telling the court they were doing everything it could.
“We know the city is frustrated; we’re frustrated,” he said. “We’re not blaming any of the contractors.”
At one point he even went as far as to ask if the city could recommend contractors to work with.
New circuit boards have been installed on the elevators, and an attorney from the city noted that load calculations were expected to be done soon. Nunes said an inspection would be done next week to see if further repairs are still needed.
In the event that the other issues were resolved, the attorney for the city said they would be willing to let people back into the 15-floor building if one elevator was fully functional and the other was being repaired.
Even then, unexpected issues fixing the hot water system could keep the building vacant for some time. Nunes said the previous owner had “frankensteined” the boiler and that what was supposed to just be an expansion chamber replacement had turned into a complex repair.
Among the issues, the water pumped from the boiler is so hot that it presents a scald risk to tenants, many of whom are elderly or disabled. A system to mix it with cooler water before it reaches the taps is necessary to prevent potential injuries.
On the bright side, the other repairs required by the fire marshall have been completed. Stairwells with broken railing that were littered with detritus are no more.
The Newport News Circuit Court judge presiding over the case said the progress is sufficient to not find Seaview dilatory or recalcitrant. He set the next hearing for September 30 and extended the order until then.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.