City nears annexation of condominium property

Published 6:32 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The property for the proposed Park Avenue condominiums at 780 U.S. 61 North is close to being part of Vicksburg.

The Board of Mayor and aldermen Monday approved a resolution giving its notice of intent to amend the city charter by changing the city’s boundary lines to include the annexed area.

Greg Nickel, owner of Beverly Hills, California-based Rockwell Building and Design, which is converting the site of the former Whispering Woods apartments into a condominium development, requested the annexation to bring four of the complex’s buildings in the county into the city. Work is underway on the property.

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According to a letter requesting the annexation, having the entire property in the city limits “will best serve the public, because it will enable the individual property owners all access to a singular health, safety and emergency services providers.”

City attorney Nancy Thomas said the annexation petition has been approved by the circuit court and the city’s intent will be advertised, “And then we will send it to the governor and the attorney general.”

Rockwell and World Trade & Exchange Holdings of New York in August acquired the property from Eddie Grosse, owner of Whispering Woods LLC, the Delaware-based company with offices in Florida, and the parent company that owned the property.

Whispering Woods LLC acquired what was then called the Confederate Ridge Apartments in September 2013 and began making changes to improve the apartment complex, which at the time had a reputation for drug and criminal activity.

But the property again fell into disrepair, and residents complained about problems with mold and leaks.

City officials in early 2016 condemned the Whispering Woods apartment complex after the apartment owners failed to pay its water bill, and Entergy later cut off electrical service after the complex was condemned.

A fire in February 2016 destroyed a building, as did subsequent fires in March and May of that year. A fire in November 2016 heavily damaged a building. When city and county firefighters arrived at the May 4 blaze, they found it fully involved and used what water they had to save two adjoining buildings.

In December 2016, the property was put under the city’s slum clearance ordinance, and the owners had to prepare a plan to either demolish or rehabilitate the apartment complex. Two plans to rehabilitate the property were presented by the company to the city, but both were rejected because they did not provide cost estimates, a construction schedule or proof of financing for the project.

In June 2017, two months before the property was sold, it was advertised on the commercial real estate website,, for $1.2 million.

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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