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'We're as frustrated as everyone' | New hearing, but same obstacles persist at still-condemned SeaView Lofts complex in Newport News

A judge previously ordered SeaView Lofts owner Ben Weinstein to reimburse the city the money it cost to temporarily house the displaced residents.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Almost three months after code violations forced residents out of the still-condemned SeaView Lofts apartment complex, a new court hearing Friday largely reiterated much of the same story residents have heard before. 

New code documents show on September 16, inspectors failed at least one of the two elevators at SeaView Lofts during a 5-Year Acceptance test.

While progress has been made to many of the other outstanding code issues inside like emergency lighting, problems with the building's boiler and elevator are still outstanding. 

A Newport News Circuit Court judge first condemned the building over summer, forcing residents out as of July 1. 

Attorneys representing SeaView owner Ben Weinstein admitted in the courtroom they are “as frustrated as everyone," saying delays and complications with local contractors still prevent the needed fixes from getting done.

They also admitted that had they been asked earlier this year how long this issue would take to be resolved, they wouldn't have said as late as September. 

“Not finding a contractor to perform work? I don’t buy that," said Nathan Robinson, a SeaView resident who attended Friday's status hearing for the first time in person. 

“The lawyer says they’re frustrated, and he knows the court is frustrated. That stuck out to me because, no... those who are living in a car are frustrated."

Code officers told a judge Friday afternoon that it would be considered up to code if one elevator was fully operational as long as contractors were actively working on the other. 

However, code officers reiterated even if the building's elevators worked properly, they’d still be opposed to residents returning if the building’s boiler isn’t fixed, which they say presents a “scalding risk” for tenants. 

A new elevator inspection is scheduled for next week, and a written status report is due before the judge before Friday, September 30. 

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