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April 3, 2013

Neighbor says apartment in New Albany back in business without approval

Building was condemned for unsafe conditions

NEW ALBANY — A resident questioned Tuesday whether a New Albany apartment building shut down by the city was again housing people without proper approval.

In 2011, New Albany Building Commissioner David Brewer ordered the five-plex apartment building at 1308 E. Main St. to be vacated due to unsafe conditions. Last year, local developer Chad Sprigler purchased the structure in hopes of rehabbing it into a moderate-to-upscale apartment building.

Sprigler met city deadlines for refurbishing parts of the structure, however only one unit at the rear of the building was OK’d by Brewer for tenant living. The rear unit is the only one in the building that has an electric meter, Brewer said. He added that the other apartments need to have meters installed before they are cleared for residential occupancy.

However a neighbor to the property, JB Hawkins, told the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety Tuesday that he’s witnessed what appears to be people living in the building.

“I live across the street from it and I see it every day,” he said.

Sprigler wasn’t at the meeting, and a phone message left for him hadn’t been returned as of press time.

Brewer said he’s checked on the building lately, and hasn’t witnessed anyone living there.

“Every time we go over there, no one is there,” Brewer said.

But he pledged to contact Sprigler and again stop by the property to see if people are living in the other units of the building that haven’t been approved for residency.

Electrical wiring malfunctions, gaps in the siding and water damage were among the reasons Brewer condemned the apartment building about two years ago.

The structure is more than 100 years old and sits in an historic preservation district.

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