Families forced to find place to live after apartments unsafe

HICKORY, N.C. — An apartment complex in Hickory has been deemed unsafe forcing families to find somewhere else to live.

Unsafe signs have been posted on more than a dozen apartments along Seventh Avenue Northwest.

Tenants said firefighters were called to the apartments last weekend after a car struck a railing. There were no injuries.

Residents said they were told to move out because of concerns over a retaining wall.

Residents are being relocated by the property management company, Hickory city officials said.

Catawba County confirmed the building inspectors with the county were at the complex this week.

Tenants said part of the problem is with a retaining wall that runs along half of the apartments that has water damage.

A resident said you can see where the bricks and wood are decaying and there’s concern the hillside could give way.

“This wall is unsafe,” said tenant Rick Rouse. “It’s in danger of collapsing and impeding into these apartments. That’s what I was told by the county engineer.”

County building inspectors said Friday, “The wall was deemed to have the potential to collapse into the building and onto adjacent walkways leading into and out of the building.”

Natacha Rivera has a one-year-old son and is staying with family but isn’t sure where she’ll end up now. Residents have until next Thursday to move their stuff out.

“They were knocking on our doors saying we all had to vacate because they said the place was unsafe and were shutting it down,” Rivera said.

The management company, Shook and Tarleton, said, “The integrity of the retaining wall has been compromised.”

The company said it has found another place for half of the residents to stay and is trying to help the others.

However, several residents said they aren’t sure where they’ll end up.

“I called my sister and she let me come and stay with her for the night, but I still have to find somewhere else to go,” tenant Keairra Daniels said.

“Now they’re telling me that I need to move all my belongings out of here by the 15th,” Rouse said. “I have nowhere to put my belongings until I get in another place.”

City of Hickory statement:

“On Feb. 7, Hickory Code Enforcement and Catawba County Building Services deemed the apartment building located at 1090 Seventh Avenue NW in Hickory to be unsafe due to damage to an exterior retaining wall by a motor vehicle. The building was not condemned. Residents are being relocated from the building by the property management company. Questions about the status of the building are being directed to the property owner.”

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