Louisiana Record

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

University House building owner files lawsuit over repairs that were incomplete

By Chandra Lye | Jun 2, 2017

BATON ROUGE — The current owners of University House, a student complex that previously sold for a record-setting amount of $108.6 million, have filed a lawsuit against the previous owners claiming the building was left in a bad state.

The executive vice president of The Scion Group, who currently own the building, said a few months after they bought it they noticed some problems.

“It kind of accelerated or became much more evident in August 2016,” Eric Bronstein told the Louisiana Record, “when there was that week of very heavy rain and all that flooding that took place around Baton Rouge. A lot of the issues became evident at that time.”

Bronstein said his company bought the University House as part of a bigger purchase of a publicly traded company, which included 19 other similar complexes.

“It has to be one of the more valuable assets in the portfolio both based on its size, in other words the square footage, the number of apartments and room it contains, the fact that it serves an important school – LSU – the fact that it is very well located, very near to the campus,” he said.

“It is designed to be a really nice, high-end  facility.”

He said the building remained occupied all throughout the problems.

“So much of our effort has been to accommodate and try to protect the residents that live there from some of the construction issues. So, if someone had a leak or some other maintenance issue we relocate them very often to other apartments in the building,” he said, adding that they would sometimes move residents to another building they owned nearby.

“There was a lot of movement around the building so that people wouldn’t have to live through repairs any more than was necessary. That is really our first responsibility is to the residents. Those are our customers.”

The lawsuit has been filed in Baton Rouge federal court against an affiliate of the developer, LMK Baton Rouge Construction. The plaintiffs have asked for $2.6 million, claiming that a list of repairs that were requested in 2015 were ignored or only minor repairs were done.

“We have addressed them all in the immediate sense but in the long term it is not quite done.”

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