Whitehall City Council has voted to move ahead with the purchase of the Woodcliff Condominium Complex for $8.8 million. The deal comes after a decade-long court battle stemming from a 2007 ruling that declared the complex a public nuisance.
Brunhilde Barron paid $20,000 for her condo 40 years ago when she moved in with three daughters to support. Under the settlement, Barron says she will be paid about $45,000 for her unit. Almost half of that will be needed to payoff her home equity loan.
Now 77 years old, Barron says she can’t start over again with house payments.
“I only have about 900 dollars social security a month. What am I gonna do?”
Over the years the court has ordered the condo owners association to fix water and sewer line issues, gutters, siding and sidewalks and other issues.
Negotiations between the city and the court-appointed receiver eventually led to a proposed sale.
Whitehall Development Director Zach Woodruff says the city does not have a plan for the property.
“The city’s goal was not acquisition,” Woodruff said. “Our goal was to have the nuisance abated and this settlement will allow us to do that while compensating the owners for the property.”
About two-thirds of the condo owners voted to approve the deal. Brunhilde Barron was among those who voted no.
Within the development, there are well-maintained condos but also some that have been neglected.
Under the settlement, owners will be paid based on how long they’ve owned the unit, not based on the condition of the condo.
Owners who have purchased after the 2007 court ruling will receive much less, in some cases as little as $15,000 per unit.
Owners will still have the opportunity to object to settlement amounts and to appeal for more money.
Once the settlement is final and everyone has moved out, Woodruff says the city will demolish it all.