WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Nearly 11 months after Hurricane Florence caused significant damage to one of Wilmington’s largest affordable apartment complexes, property owners have begun the process to tear them down.
In late July, property owners began the process of demolishing the sprawling 17.48 acre complex.
According to public records obtained by WECT, Phillips Management Group (PMG) initially submitted plans to tear down the apartments on July 22. However, a New Hanover County spokesperson said because of the type of units within The Glen, the company will have to submit a demolition permit request for each individual building.
On July 24, PMG submitted a new demolition request, which indicates it received permission to begin tearing down the business office on the property. Then, crews will have to disconnect all of the utilities other than fire hydrants before work can begin on the rest of the buildings.
WECT reached out to PMG, but so far has not received a response from the property owner regarding the plans.
However, the contractor for the company listed on the demolition permit request said work will begin shortly, and crew vehicles could be seen on the property Wednesday afternoon.
For neighbors of the vacant complex, the progress isn’t coming a moment too soon.
Kelly Smith and her significant other live directly behind the complex on Crete Drive, and she said they had a front row seat to what has been going on at The Glen for the last nine months.
Smith said the initial exodus from the apartments was so swift, many tenants were unable to take all of their belongings with them.
When the complex was finally empty, she said transient individuals took up illegal residence in the units.
“Because so many people had left so many things behind, at first it was a way for the homeless or those in need to maybe, find resources that they were in need of,” Smith said, “[but] it turned into survival for people, then the drug culture caught on.”
Smith said beginning around January or February, she and others in the neighborhood began to notice increasing foot traffic, as people cut holes in or jumped the fences around The Glen, as well as people dropping off bags and other items for people living in the abandoned complex.
“We started noticing some really iffy behavior,” she said.
One day, she confronted a few individuals about parking in her yard while conducting what she believes was a drug deal. She said she was threatened by the individuals and her significant other was nearly run-over by their car.
“It just got to be very uneasy to live around here,” she said. “It got to where I didn’t even feel safe walking my dog at night.”
Smith and others called the police frequently over the span of several months.
City of Wilmington officials said they received those complaints from the police department, and on June 20, issued a notice that the property had been declared a public nuisance.
Since then, a city spokesperson said PMG has worked with the city to secure the property and abate the issues.
Smith said after the nuisance was declared, she and her neighbors noticed an improvement within about a week.
Now, she said she hopes PMG can not only clean up the property, but return it to the community as the same valuable resource it once was.
“It’s just such a sad thing, because [The Glen] was affordable housing for people, and that’s a big crisis in our area right now," she said. "So I really hope they can turn The Glen into affordable housing for our community.”
WECT will continue trying to reach PMG representatives and update this story if information becomes available.