It looks like 2019 could be the year the Heritage House redevelopment project gets moving again.
In 2014 the city condemned the Heritage House at 310 West Meadowview Road for numerous housing code violations and also because the building was about $50,000 behind on its water bill and was also far behind on its electric bill. One of the flaws in developing the building, that was built as a Royal Villa Hotel in the 1970s, was that there were 177 condominium units in the building but only one water and one electric meter.
The actual building code violations while impressive in number 830, were not impressive in severity. The violations included broken smoke detectors, roach and bedbug infestation and animal feces on the floors.
But with an unpaid $50,000 water bill, in July 2014 the city cut off the water and condemned the building.
In the normal course of events after being condemned Heritage House would have been demolished and the property redeveloped.
But Heritage House was a condominium building with 177 condominiums which meant a host of different owners. The city had to purchase each condominium before it could move forward with the demolition.
According to Planning Director Sue Schwartz the city bought the last couple of holdouts in November and she said that there appears to be only one more issue to be resolved before, the city can move forward with demolition and redevelopment.
Meridian Convention Center shares a wall with the Heritage House, some common space and the parking lot.
Schwartz said that Meridian is in a dispute with the city about some of the common space. Schwartz said that they had a March court date for that dispute and once it was settled, that there didn’t appear to be anything else to keep the city from moving forward with the redevelopment project.
Schwartz noted that before taking the route of condemnation and demolition the city did get an estimate of $16 million to bring the Heritage House up to code.
The City Council will likely have to make some decisions on what to do with the property once the building is demolished and the whole issue will be new for a number of councilmembers who weren’t around when the Heritage House was last before the City Council in 2015.
In May 2016 the city announced that it had bought 135 of the 177 condominium units and that there were only 17 owners that hadn’t settled with the city. At that time the city said the project was moving along faster than it had anticipated, but then it slowed down considerably.