Remaining residents move back into their apartments at Vie Lofts after being displaced for over a month.
Vie Lofts management issued a statement Nov. 12 announcing its final inspection—conducted Nov. 9—with the City of San Marcos. All proper permits were obtained and the structure was deemed safe for re-entry. The remaining 60 of 162 displaced residents were allowed to move back into their apartments Nov. 10.
San Marcos Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner issued a mandatory evacuation Sept. 20 for residents of Vie Lofts, located at 817 Chestnut St. City officials on the scene cited concern for building safety after worries of cracking walls in the parking garage and stairwells.
Once Kistner deemed it safe, the complex was issued a temporary certificate of occupancy, indicating the building met building code requirements.
Of the residents displaced initially, 102 were allowed to move back Sep. 28. However, 60 residents on the right sector of the building were unable to move back in at the time due to a staircase needing repairs.
Construction of the building started January 16, 2014, by J4 Development. Vie Lofts management acquired the building from Ella Lofts January of this year and had completed all of the requirements with the city in terms of review and inspection.
Derrick Milam, co-founder of Vie Lofts management, said the first priority is their residents, guests and employees living and working in a safe building environment.
After remodeling the stairwell and making sure the property had two dedicated parking spaces for fire access, Vie Lofts was given a certificate of occupancy Nov. 9.
“We have worked closely with the city and have been addressing their concerns,” Milam said.
Vie Lofts management issued a statement on their Facebook page stating, “We understand how long this process has been and greatly appreciate your patience and support. Please know we are now able to continue work on the rest of the improvements that were in progress before this incident with the city occurred. This includes finishing the leasing office enhancements, painting the guest corridors and remodeling the pool deck. We are working to get all this completed as soon as possible.”
Upon the evacuation from Vie Lofts, management promised reimbursement and followed through. Residents did not have to pay rent for the month of October and will not have to pay rent for the month of November.
Residents were reimbursed for ride-share costs like Lyft and Uber, to and from campus and meals with a $15 limit for lunch and $20 limit for dinner. Residents were sent Google forms where they could upload receipts and bank statements to then be reimbursed with physical checks.
“The bulk of our residents have moved back in and are very pleased to get back into their homes,” Milam said. “We have had a few residents who requested to get out of their leases. That’s not something that we have permitted because we have been able to get people back into their unit.”
Vie Lofts resident Anna Slobodnik, social work junior, felt there was a lack of communication between her and the apartment complex.
“They didn’t communicate much,” Slobodnik said. “I asked them when we could move back in and they told me it’d be like three weeks but then it turned out to be longer.”
Milam said he is thankful and fortunate that management was able to get every tenant back in as quickly as they have given the circumstances.