Another setback for Newport News residential tower after fire and power outage – The Virginian-Pilot

NEWPORT NEWS — The 15-story apartment building Oceanside Tower, formerly known as Seaview Lofts, recently faced another setback when a power outage and fire forced residents to evacuate, drawing condemnation for the building.

Last Wednesday, the Newport News Fire Department responded to Oceanside at 5:26 p.m. According to city spokeswoman Sarah Bowman, firefighters put out a small fire in the main breaker panel in the electrical room and no one was injured.

“The Fire Bureau is investigating, but it appears that the fire was caused by a contractor who was doing work on the electrical panel, trying to repair a damaged power supply to the air conditioning, heating and ventilation unit,” she said in an email. The apartment manager immediately worked with the residents to provide accommodation in a hotel.

As of Tuesday, Bowman said the building is still condemned because of the blackout. She said residents cannot return until an electrical inspector can assess the breaker panels and restore power.

“The tenants have been allowed to recover the necessary property from the property,” she said. “The property manager has informed that they have made arrangements for the tenants to stay in hotels until Friday 8th September.”

The fire and power outage are another setback for the 15-story building, located at 2nd 28th Street. Last summer, a judge condemned the apartments — then known as Seaview Lofts — after code inspectors discovered several problems with the building, including the boiler. . HVAC system, elevators, fire alarm system and exit doors. One hundred tenants and their families were given 48 hours to move out after the city deemed the building unsafe and a judge ordered its eviction. Convicted and cleared July 1, 2022.

A judge overturned the conviction on February 21 after returning the two elevators to service and repairing the boiler system. Unfortunately, the residents were unable to move back in because the structure failed a rent check in March.

Compliance director Harold Roach said in April that when the inspection was passed, the building could reopen.

Earlier this summer, a former city spokesperson, Kim Lee, said that four of the 150 condo units in the building had been “occupied” by Codes Compliance, passing rental inspections, but the remaining units still needed to be completed. to approval. Lee said in July that it was up to the building’s management team to get the units ready for inspection and that the city was working with Oceanside’s management team to get the units approved “as they are configured to code.”

Bowman confirmed on Tuesday that no additional housing units had been released for occupancy.

Earlier this year, a judge ordered the apartment management company to pay the city $145,000 it spent temporarily housing residents in hotels after they were evicted when the building was convicted. Bowman said the city has not yet been reimbursed for hotel fees last year.

Josh Janney, joshua.janney@virginiamedia.com.

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