City leaders concerned about South Street Apartments

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The South Street Apartments, which have been the subject of numerous complaints from nearby residents and have been vacant since the city condemned the complex in 2012 as uninhabitable, are again a topic of the city’s attention.

“They still look blighty, and we’re getting a lot of complaints about we haven’t done anything,” said Mayor George Flaggs Jr. “I think vagrants are going over in there. It’s been blighted too long. It’s another eyesore like Kuhn and other buildings. “

The apartment complex at 1201 South St. was acquired in January 2014 by Holly Springs lawyer Kent Smith and his company, Lake Center Rentals LLC. Smith hired a contractor to clean the apartments and had a 7-foot chain link fence put around it, but no other improvements were made. He gave the property to Habitat for Humanity in June 2016.

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Habitat director Abraham Green agrees the property is unsightly, and Habitat plans to have a cleanup day at the site as soon as the weather improves.

He said the organization has put it on the market for sale, but so far has had no takers. 

“We’re not sure why it has taken so long to sell the property,” he said.

According to Warren County property tax records, the property is appraised at $222,450, but Green said Habitat is asking $150,000, adding, “We think it’s a very reasonable price, and it’s negotiable. We don’t understand why it hasn’t moved.”

“We’re hoping to acquire enough funds to be able to build at least three new habitat homes. That was our goal. We may have to settle for two. We’re trying every effort to have a successful investor come in.”

He said Habitat has listed the property with local realtors, and plans to list it again. He said he has talked with a potential buyer who is expected to call back about the property later in the week.

If Habitat is unable to find a buyer, Flaggs said, the city may have to raze the apartment complex. He said he eventually wants to look at all the city’s vacant buildings like South Street that have been empty for a long time.

“This city is a long way from being as clean as I think it ought to be,” he said. “It’s an eyesore on our community and it doesn’t look good for tourism. We’re going to have to compile a list of all these properties and have one big demolition going forward in the future.”

Also known as the Triple Six Apartments, the 41-unit apartment building at South and Locust streets was the target of complaints by South Street residents in 2012. At the time, the resident cited the condition of the apartments and called it a location where criminals managed to hang out.

The city in June 2012 closed 14 of the apartments because of their condition, and later condemned the rest of the complex.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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