VIRGINIA BEACH -- Neighbors of a vacant Oceanfront building are pressing the city for answers as to why the project has been in limbo so long.
Neighbors press city of Va. Beach in answers for eyesore
Virginia Beach planners say they are working on trying to find a fix for the problem, but are being delayed by legal red tape.
310 24th Street was a former motel being converted into condominiums. The project started in 2005.
'They've got it boarded up, but after that I saw no more progress with the property,' said Joe Belec.
He not only contacted the city about the project but also posted on Mayor Will Sessoms's FaceBook page.
He wrote, 'Mayor- I inquired about the property that stands half completed for 5 years at the corner of 24th and Pacific. I emailed email@example.com twice, as you suggested, but there has been no response. No activity around the property, either, as I watch folks climb over the fence and do whatever around the property. Homeless folks have used it as a refuge and God knows what else this half finished project has been used for by the street people. Are the folks in the neighboring areas going to get an answer? I think we deserve an answer AND action on this property. It has stood long enough, decaying..'
Virginia Beach Permits and Inspections Administrator Cheri Hainer told 1News by email, 'The building permit to convert a motel to condos was issued to Tivest Development. Tivest Development is linked to the Bank of the Commonwealth. When we are unable to contact to secure a site, we usually contact the lien holder but we can't in this case. Appropriate City agencies are exploring options as to how best handle this situation but in accordance with applicable codes and regulations, there are some notification time frames that must be met. In short, we are working on it..'
Belec isn't convinced and wants more explanation.
'If this was sitting some place on Atlantic Avenue, this piece of property wouldn't be sitting in this state for five years,' Belec added. 'If this was at the North End or Croatan or Sandbridge, it wouldn't be sitting in this state, but unfortunately it's back here in Old Beach and sometimes things get overlooked back here.'
Tim Moody of Moody Homes in Virginia Beach said his company made an unsuccessful offer to buy the property.
'We are greatly disappointed that despite our offers for full market value all cash purchase of 310 24th Street, we have not been able to compel the bank, the current owner, or the city to assist in the transition of this property from its current owner to an entity that will complete the build-out and remove this blight from this highly-visible tourist area,' said Moody.
Hainer added that the city is now working on getting new fencing for the property and ensuring that the building is structurally secure.
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