Condo Owners Debate Renovating, Selling After Notice Of Code Violations

Posted at 6:03 PM, Aug 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 16:34:27-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As demand has gone up for living space in the city core, many condo owners have been choosing between the old and the new.

Sticking with their building can mean costly renovations, while selling to developers means they'd need to find a new place to live. It’s a dilemma currently playing out at the Continental Condominiums at 3415 West End Ave.

Mark Hughes said he thinks of his condo as an investment. He bought it last year at the unheard of Midtown price of $140,000, renovating it top to bottom.

“I thought I was getting a bargain,” he said, “I knew the building was old and there might be some problems. I didn't know about the structural issues.”

After years of issues with the 50-year-old building, the city codes department put its foot down. A letter containing the code violations was posted in the elevator for all residents to read. Mark showed NewsChannel 5 some of the issues he’s noticed just since he moved in.

“If you were to pour a gallon of water on the patio it would run right back to the wall,” he said, talking about the water intrusion issues. Water damage, separating balconies and other problems mean millions in renovations.

And it's money each condo owner has to swallow.

Based on Mark’s square footage and specific apartment, his cost is almost $34,000. But after investing $60,000 last year, he said it's not a problem.

“This is a premier piece of property,” he said.

Other owners who asked not to be on camera said that's too much. They want to accept a recent offer from Elmington Capital, a real estate investment firm that offered to buy the whole building for around $20 million, according to a Homeowner's Association Board member.

“There’s only so much land in the core of Nashville,” said Nashville Association of Realtors President Cindy Stanton. She wasn't surprised by the choice in front of the Continental condo owners as buildings age and property values explode.

“We will continue to see developers with their eye on possible opportunities,” she said.

But Mark said he's not worried. It will take 70 percent of owners to agree to sell and he thinks most have tenants: a reason to keep them paying the bills.

“I think in the end that's what we’ll see happen,” he said.

While other condo owners complained the cost of bringing the building up to code just isn’t worth it.

If nothing changes board members said renovations could begin as early as Monday. Elmington Capital did not return phone calls regarding this story.