You are viewing this article in the AnnArbor.com archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see MLive.com/ann-arbor
Posted on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Stewart Beal invests $50K to clean up troubled apartment complex

By Tom Perkins

Riley_Court_6.jpg

An apartment where a plexi-glass front window once bulged due to heat from a nearby car fire has been rehabbed at the former Riley Court Apartment Complex, now called MeadowRidge Apartments.

Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com

The raw sewage that once took up a parking spot in front of the MeadowRidge Apartments in Ypsilanti Township has been hosed away.

The pipe that spewed the sewage has been repaired, and the litany of code violations ranging from serious safety hazards to cosmetic issues at the property, 2532 E. Michigan Ave., also have all been addressed.

Complex owner Stewart Beal fired the management team, a source of many tenant complaints, and now oversees the 30-unit property himself. The complex was previously known as Riley Court.

Building officials have applauded the turnaround at the complex that has troubled the township for decades and called it one of the largest rehabilitation of a property they have seen.

“This is the most encompassing enforcement that has occurred at this property. Through tenant complaints, the tenacity of (code inspector) Bill Elling, unparalleled photo documentation and attorney pressure, this property looks the best it has in some time,” Township Building Director Ron Fulton said. “Obviously this is a victory for the owner, the township and, most importantly, the tenants.”

Beal said he invested around $50,000 to bring the property up to code.

The township charged in court documents filed last September that the complex was riddled with safety hazards and a range of code violations.

An official described the plumbing in some of the units as “wacky”. In one unit, bathtub water that was turned on with a pair of pliers shot into a neighbor’s wall.

Riley_Court_1.jpg

Sewage was seen in September outside residents' apartments at MeadowRidge.

Tom Perkins | AnnArbor.com file photo

An extension cord plugged into the wall in the bedroom ran through the wall where the water was shooting. That cord led to a basement crawl space, where it was spliced into another cord that led to the hot water heater, which created a serious fire hazard.

Additionally, the large front window to the apartment was a plexiglass sheet that had been partially melted when a car was set on fire in the parking lot about 10 feet away.

Other problems included mold, flooded crawl spaces, serious electrical hazards, serious fire hazards, windows that didn’t fit, broken plumbing, broken windows, trash littering the property, rotting door and window frames, windows nailed shut, non-functioning fire alarms, general exterior decay, broken plumbing fixtures, broken heaters and more, officials said.

“We went through unit by unit and verified that everything was repaired,” Fulton said.

Beal said he is pleased that the property is now up to code, but he said didn’t believe there were safety issues and said the bulk of his renovation expense was related to replacing windows.

“I would certainly deny there was anything unsafe on the property at any time. You caught us on a bad day,” he said, referring to an AnnArbor.com reporter's tour of the property with building officials in September. “But we went above and beyond by investing $50,000 in the property.

“It was a pleasant process. Ron Fulton and Bill Elling are good to work with. I’m glad work got done to their satisfaction.”

The property also had been a crime hot spot, but law enforcement officials say crime has also dropped.

Through the first eight months of last year, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office had responded to 96 calls at Riley Court. Police said had responded to calls at 24 of the 30 units.

Included in property's rap sheet is arson, sexual assault, felony warrant arrests, armed assault, animal complaints, disorderly persons, prostitution, narcotics possession, narcotics distribution, shots fired complaints and noise complaints. The sheriff’s department also has recovered stolen cars from other jurisdictions and accompanied the township officials to enforce ordinance violations.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Reach the AnnArbor.com news desk at news@annarbor.com.

Comments

stevek

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

Now maybe the tenants can manage not to trash the place and keep it up.

Schoolgurl

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

This Beal guys is ridiculous. I'm sick of hearing his name and about how good of a job he's doing. This guy is a crook and does nothing for the ypsi area, but make it look worn down. His properties explain what type of person this guy is. I know from personal experience. My family and I have rented from him before and he makes things look nice when he's showing things but once you move in and get settled the places fall apart before your eyes. My unit was very unhealthy and not safe for my family and I. To make a long story short we terminated our lease and he ended up paying us rather than us paying him. I would never recommend and strongly discourage people from renting From this guy. I feel bad for the people who do

roadsidedinerlover

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Just a PR stunt folks....

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Glad to see this investment being made.

EyeHeartA2

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

Prime location there: Junkyard on one side Trailer park on the other Railroad behind Not surprising it has, shall we say...issues.

Steven Taylor

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Trailer park is gone, ordered demolished by the township about 8 months ago. But yeah..

SuperiorMother

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Glad this apartment complex is cleaned up, but I'm not sure that "invested" is the right word here. More like "Beal spends $50K to bring one of his dilapidated properties up to code." How long has Beal owned this apartment complex? How long did he own it before starting to bring the units up to code? Seems like that information should be included in the article.

Jack Gladney

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

A study in the power of branding and brand name. When you use to see the name "Beal" in the Ann Arbor News one would associate it with words like JC, premiere, construction and development. Now, when I see "Beal" the first words that come to mind are slumlord and eyesore. The power of branding.

Olive

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

It's too bad the name "Beal" name has been devalued so much.

Caring

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Kudos to Beal for investing and rehabbing so many Ypsi properties that others have let deteriorate.

Dirty Mouth

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

Can you say: Thompson Block? Thought so.

Patty Bradley

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Let's not forget the attempted murder: http://www.annarbor.com/news/crime/man-in-critical-condition-after-being-shot-in-ypsilanti-township-parking-lot/

HB11

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

What a misleading headline. It should have said "Beal shreds slumlord status, gets his apt. complex up to code. COST: $50K."

HB11

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

*sheds

Brad

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

That's what I thought, too. There's a reason it was "troubled" in the first place.

ypsiguy57

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

Mr Beal needs to fix the properties he already has before putting money in something else. How bout the thompson block Mr Beal any plans on returning to work on that. Looks like alot of the other empty decaying buildings in Ypsi Or is this just another addition to your slum lord properties?

Murf

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

Or even the house behind the Thompson Building!

Stupid Hick

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

"The property also had been a crime hot spot, but law enforcement officials say crime has also dropped. Through the first eight months of last year, the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office had responded to 96 calls at Riley Court. Police said had responded to calls at 24 of the 30 units." I don't understand. Crime dropped by how much?

Steven Taylor

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 3 p.m.

I'm still confused as how an inanimate object, (A building) can cause crime... which is caused by people.

Tom Perkins

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

@Stupid Hick The Sheriff's Department has been extremely slow getting me the exact numbers, though I will hopefully have them today and will be able to update the story.

Cash

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

Mr Hick. It's all in the spin isn't it? :-)

Murf

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

It will be interesting to see how Beal maintains this complex. He might be good at rehabbing but judging from his other properties around Ypsi (and from tenants who have lived in any of his properties who have commented on previous articles about involving him), maintaining them seems to be an issue.

ahi

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 2:43 a.m.

From personal experience, rehabbing meant slapping some paint on the walls. I do think he means well, but his responsibilities outstrip his talents.

missmisery

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

Let's wait and see. Many of those charges on the rap sheet (sexual assault, armed assault, disorderly persons) do not go away with paint, carpet and new water heaters.

A2comments

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 10:38 a.m.

I would certainly deny there was anything unsafe on the property at any time. You caught us on a bad day," he said, referring to an AnnArbor.com reporter's tour of the property with building officials in September. That quote says it all...

michaywe

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 10:18 a.m.

A $50,000 investment on a 30 unit property? That amounts to a new carpet and paint! Big news!

djacks24

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

Exactly, keeping this in perspective that amounts to roughly $1700 per unit. He either got off pretty cheap, or else things weren't as bad as building officials claimed (essentially the later is what Beal is claiming).