The Colonade Racks Up 200 Code Violations
In the past several months, the Colonade apartment complex has had about 200 building and fire code violations. It has since whittled the number down to about 20 violations following a hearing Thursday with township officials.
Abington Director of Planning and Code Enforcement Larry Matteo said Thursday afternoon that residents of the Colonade apartment complex, in the corner of Township Line and Old York roads, have been complaining about their living conditions for the past two years. The issues range from heating and hot water problems-to rodent problems-to fire code violations. However, the issues really started to come to light over the past couple of months.
Abington Township Property Maintenance Official James Salanik said, “It started with lack of heat in the building this past winter.”
Matteo added, “We’ve been receiving complaints from the residents over the years, but not to the extent that we’ve experienced this past winter. Luckily we had a mild winter, but [Salanik has] been inundated with complaints about not having hot water in both buildings."
The Colonade apartment complex comprises two buildings: a 12-story unit on Old York Road called the Estate, and an 8-story building behind it known as the Manor. Between the two, the complex houses about 500 residents; it’s one of the biggest apartment complexes in the township and has a lot of vacancies, according to Matteo. The complex is owned by the Boston-based firm Metropolitan Properties of America.
Over the past couple of months, Salanik and Abington Assistant Fire Marshal John Rohrer discovered about 200 violations in the complex, Matteo said. Some of the violations are Montgomery County Health Department-related, like leaky ceilings, rodent problems in the hallways and mold; some are at a state level, like malfunctioning elevators; and some are fire code violations, like malfunctioning fire doors and expired and empty fire extinguishers. In fact, Salanik said there were more than 70 violations regarding fire extinguishers alone.
Following a hearing Thursday afternoon in front of District Judge Juanita Price, Matteo said the Colonade has remedied about 90 percent of its code violations. The most glaring violations left over are problems with the apartment complex’s fire doors. According to Matteo, Price gave the complex an additional 30 days to make good on the remaining violations. Extra time was given because the complex had to purchase custom steel fire doors, which will likely take several weeks to arrive.
This is not the first time the township has taken the owners of the Colonade to court. According to Matteo, there was a hearing in 2010. Still, Matteo said the owners and representatives of the apartment complex have mostly been cooperative in getting the building up to snuff.
“They didn’t appeal; they did work with us,” Matteo said. “They thought we could make a deal or something. And for the last year they’ve been saying, ‘We’re working on it, we’re working on it,’ but we just got to a point where we’ve had enough.
“We wanted action immediately,” Matteo continued. “We’re looking out for the health and safety of the residents of that building, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Some facts about the Colonade:
- Built in 1955
- Latest sale of the property was December 1996 for $22 million
- Previous sale was July 1982 for $2 (parcel history says $2, as in 200 pennies)
- Total assessment: $11.66 million
- School taxes: $324,200
- Township taxes: $45,700
- County taxes: $31,400
- Lot size: 200,400 square feet / 4.6 acres
Check back soon for an update.