COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Days after tenants were made to vacate their homes on Christmas in frigid weather because of no heat and bursting water pipes, Columbus’ city attorney is moving to speed up the process of wresting away the Latitude Five25 apartment complex from its current owners.
The office of Columbus city attorney Zach Klein said Tuesday morning it will file a motion for contempt against the ownership group of Latitude Five25, a complex on Sawyer Boulevard in the Mount Vernon neighborhood that has two 15-story towers visible from Interstate 670 near its interchange with I-71.
The move came just days after residents had to evacuate the building on Christmas after bursting water pipes led to flooding and a loss of water, no heat and multiple elevators becoming inoperable. Klein’s office said more than two dozen residents were taken by COTA from buses to the Dodge Park Community Center, with some remaining two days later.
Latitude Five25 has almost 400 apartment units. Last month, its owner, New Jersey-based Paxe Latitude, reached an agreement with the city to transfer ownership of Latitude525 within 90 days.
“With the 90-day window running out and residents and families forced from their homes, we need to act with urgency to get the right team in place to manage this property and meet the needs of residents.” Klein said.
The receiver group that could take over would facilitate repairs and set into motion the preparations to sell LatitudeFive25 to a new group, Klein’s office said.
Paxe Latitude took over management of Latitude Five25 from Skyview Apartments in 2021 at no cost. In March, the city took Paxe Latitude to court over the complex’s conditions.
More than 1,000 calls for service at the apartments were made between Jan. 7, 2020, and Jan. 6, 2022, according to court documents. Overdoses, stabbings, drugs, and fights — as well as regular calls to shootings — plagued the towers, the city’s complaints alleged. The complaints outlined housing inspector reports of roach infestations, bed bugs, busted pipes, water damage, broken doors, broken windows, and trash and inoperable cars on the property.
Recently, a receivership group took over another troubled Columbus apartment complex, the 508-unit Colonial Village on Rand Avenue in the Eastmoor neighborhood. The Robert Weiler Company took over with numerous building improvements made since to open the door for a potential buyer.