ST. GEORGE – A bid was awarded for the demolition of the long-condemned West Cove Apartments by the St. George City Council Thursday night. This was done despite objections from the late property owner’s family to postpone the measure.
The City Council awarded the $90,000 bid to B. Hansen Construction to tear down the West Cove Apartments, located at 100 S. 300 West. Built in the early 1940s, the eight-unit complex has been given the unflattering nickname of Termite Terrace by its neighbors.
The apartments were condemned by the city in the mid-2000s due to safety concerns. Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager, previously told St. George News that the city had tried repeatedly to work with the property owner, the late Richard Cooper, but were never able to reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement.
While the city and Cooper went back and forth over the property, it continued to deteriorate and become associated with vagrancy, vandalism and drug activity.
Cooper, who resided in the area of Littlefield, Arizona, passed away on Nov. 27, 2014. Shortly afterward, 5th District Judge Jeffrey Wilcox issued a court order allowing the City of St. George to tear down the West Cove Apartments.
Consider an alternative and delay demolition? We’re too far down the road, city officials say
Dan Larsen, of Washington City, was prepared to ask the council to delay demolition during the public comment period of the council meeting, but was denied due to not being a St. George resident. He said he had been authorized by Cooper’s family to ask the council to postpone awarding the bid for 30 days.
During the 30-day delay, a proposal Larsen planned to submit to the city outlined how the property would be cleaned up and a temporary security system would be set up to deter intruders. At the end of the 30 days, a potential construction schedule for the demolition of the apartments would be given to the city, along with a possible preliminary development plan, and a conditional joint venture agreement or purchase agreement for the property.
The City Council members didn’t budge, but instead awarded the bid and said they and the residents in the neighborhood had been more than patient concerning the decaying apartments.
“In our opinion, we’re too far down the road,” City Manager Gary Esplin said.
Esplin said the city had heard from the family about delaying demolition before, but the matter was never resolved.
“The neighbors, to their credit, have been very patient,” Councilwoman Michele Randall said. “I am not in favor of delaying this, (the apartments) have got to go.”
Randall motioned for the bid to be awarded, which was seconded and unanimously passed by the council.
“(Cooper) fought them tooth and nail all this time,” Larsen said, adding that affairs between Cooper and the city seemed to have gotten personal. “There was very bad blood between him and the city,” he said.
Larsen isn’t related to the Cooper family, yet became involved because he had an interest in the property which is located in the downtown area of St. George.
Larsen originally contacted Cooper about four-five years ago about buying the property, but Cooper wasn’t interested in selling. Nevertheless, Larsen remained in loose contact with the man. He had no idea the West Cove Apartments were going to be torn down until reading it in the newspaper earlier this week. Larsen called Cooper to ask about it and only then learned of the man’s passing. Since then he has been in contact with Jerry Cooper, Richard Cooper’s son, and the manager-director of the family trust that currently owns the condemned apartments.
Larsen said he and the family want to work with the city, but that attempt had been shot down.
The West Cove Apartments are slated to be demolished following the removal of asbestos around the end of the month.
- City plans tear-down of condemned, nuisance apartments
- Neighborhood rejoices over demolition of condemned home
- Condemned apartments continue to prove a nuisance
- Residents: Clean up condemned West Cove apartments
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