Lawsuit claims Decatur’s Beacon Center project caused damage to Section 8 housing
UPDATE June 12, 2017. The city of Decatur settled this lawsuit and was not required to pay anything to plaintiffs as part of the settlement.
More from city attorney Bryan Downs:
“Pursuant to the global settlement facilitated by the mediator, the City was required to dismiss its cross-claims and third party claims, release the other parties from any claims arising out of or relating to the subject matter of the lawsuit, direct its insurance carrier to disburse to the mediator the amount the insurance carrier had agreed to contribute toward the settlement, and release final contract balances to the contractor for the Beacon construction work, which amounts had been withheld pending the contractor’s satisfaction of the contractor’s contractual indemnification obligations. To your original question, the City did not have to pay anything toward the settlement.”
The initial story.
A lawsuit filed in federal court claims that contractors building Decatur’s $38-million budgeted Beacon Municipal Center damaged Section 8 apartments adjacent to the site.
The owners of a nearby apartment complex filed the suit against the city and its contractors on the Beacon project.
Park Trace apartments, located on 700 Atlanta Avenue, has 169 units out of 170 that receive Section 8 housing assistance, according to Affordablehousingonline.com. It’s adjacent to the Beacon Municipal Center, a government complex dedicated this year that houses City Schools of Decatur’s central offices, the city’s Police Department and Municipal Court.
The city hired the construction manager for project in 2012. According to the lawsuit, “The project included a significant upgrade to the city’s stormwater system. The stormwater upgrade is known as the Ebster Park Regional Stormwater Management Facility … and cost approximately $10 million.”
The stormwater upgrade required the construction of a two-acre stormwater management vault under Ebster Field on the land next to Park Trace, the lawsuit says.
According to the lawsuit, the city’s excavation work for the vault caused the Park Trace building to suffer structural damage. Alleged damage includes, “collapsed ceilings, falling concrete, significant interior and exterior cracking of walls, significant settling of the building’s floor slabs and substantial sinking and leaning of the property.” The lawsuit claims “dozens of residents” had to be evacuated due to the damage.
Attempts to reach the owners of Park Trace and their attorney was unsuccessful.
Decaur Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon, who has overseen the project, could say very little about it because the lawsuit is ongoing.
“I can’t comment other than to confirm that a lawsuit has been filed and that it is being defended vigorously by the city’s attorneys,” Saxon said.
Read more: Here is a copy of the lawsuit and responses to it filed in U.S. District Court