Evacuation order lifted for San Marcos apartment complex

Evacuation order for Vie Lofts lifted by city Friday, officials say

(File Photo)

SAN MARCOS, Texas - The evacuation order for an apartment complex was lifted by the city of San Marcos on Friday.

City officials said the evacuation order for Vie Lofts at 817 Chestnut St. was lifted as of 5:10 p.m.

The city issued a temporary certificate of occupancy for a portion of the building, which allows occupancy of the building, city officials said. Residents will be contacted by Vie Lofts management to coordinate move in.

The evacuation order was issued last Friday, Sept. 20, by the San Marcos fire marshal. City officials said the cause of the evacuation was due to unsafe conditions that included, but were not limited to, inadequate means of egress, which was due to inadequate maintenance.

Unified Building Sciences & Engineering Inc., of Richardson, was hired by the city to conduct an on-site inspection and provide an independent report regarding the structural damage present in Stairwell A and to evaluate the overall structural integrity of the building and adjacent retaining wall, city officials said.

"UBSE provided a written report to the city with a determination that the overall concrete super structure of the building is not damaged or distressed; however, the walls of Stairwell A on levels B2 & B3 MUST be demolished and reconstructed," city officials said in the release.

City Fire and Building Inspection personnel told the owners a Life Safety Plan, which would address all immediate life safety hazards, could be submitted and, upon the plan's approval and inspection, the building could be occupied. City officials said the owners completed this plan of action.

"All immediate life safety hazards as identified by our city team have been addressed and repaired," Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner said. "All fire safety systems have passed inspection, as well as the elevator being back in operation and having increased safety measures in place for its use. We've worked cooperatively with Vie Lofts ownership and appreciate their diligent efforts to provide a safe place for residents to return."

The next steps in the process will require owners to complete applications and be issued permits to demolish and make the required repairs to Stairwell A and to complete remodel work of the clubhouse, fitness and study areas that had been started without a permit, according to the city.

The owners will also be required to finish addressing any outstanding building punch list items that were not required to be completed prior to the temporary certificate of occupancy being issued and provide a permanent solution for the elevator operation, city officials said.

"The city of San Marcos expresses its heartfelt thanks to the residents and their families for their cooperation and patience during this past week as we worked to make sure safety was priority," the city said in the release.

Derrick Milam, co-founder of Vie Management, issued the following statement: 

"We have been working diligently with the City of San Marcos for the past week and after a meeting this afternoon, they have issued a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for a portion of our building. They also confirmed that this is and was not any question about the structural integrity of our building. 

 

"The city is allowing some residents to move home. At this time they have split floors three through six and are allowing 89 residents to move back in. The reason for this split is a concern with one of the stairwells and they are requiring that we fix this stairwell before the entire building is reopened. 

"We are communicating with each of our residents to inform them if they are able to move in as early as tomorrow at 1 p.m. or if due to construction, they will need to be in temporary accommodations for the next 3-4 weeks. Our goal is to complete the work and get everyone moved back in sooner than 4 weeks.

"We also have 65 open spaces in the open side of our building and any resident not able to move back in does have the option to be roommate matched and move back in by the end of next week."

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