NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — At a scheduled status hearing on Monday, a Newport News judge said “it looks like significant progress is being made” in terms of getting the Seaview Lofts apartments up to code, but the city still has quite a few concerns about the high rise building.
Landlord Ben Weinstein did not appear in court for the hearing, which lasted about ten minutes. His attorneys appeared on his behalf.
“We continue to make progress; hopefully there will be more progress this week,” said Josh David, Weinstein’s attorney.
The fire alarm is now functioning and there is progress being made on the HVAC system. At the heart of the issues are the building’s elevators, which are still not functioning.
“We were waiting on control panels, we understand that they have been received and we are waiting for them to be installed. Hopefully that will allow the testing to proceed, and if that all goes in a straight line, then the elevators will be cleared. That’s really the most significant issue at this point,” David said.
WAVY asked city representatives if they feel “significant progress” is being made.
“I wouldn’t say significant progress has been made since the last hearing,” said Kim Lee, Newport News Communications Manager.
“What has happened is that permits have been issued for repairs to be made on outstanding violations; however, no inspections have been scheduled for any completed work except the stairwell egress lighting, which failed,” Lee said.
In court on Monday, the city also mentioned the possibility that people are still living at the condemned apartments. They said on a visit to the building last Wednesday, people were inside.
“They’re certainly not living there, I don’t know if anyone was living there, or if they were coming in to get their possessions. I’m not sure what people were doing. If someone is living there, they’re certainly not living there with the owner’s permission. We’re gonna follow the law,” David said.
The judge has not yet scheduled another status update. Instead, he asked for a written report on the progress to be delivered to him by August 30. At that point, he said he will likely schedule another hearing.