Old hotel just looks worse and worse - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Old hotel just looks worse and worse

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Here is what the sign looked like from a 2002 story on the condition of the property Here is what the sign looked like from a 2002 story on the condition of the property
The building looks far worse today than it did in May of 2002 The building looks far worse today than it did in May of 2002

June 17, 2008

Albany - New roadblocks stand in the way of progress for the old Heritage House Hotel on Oglethorpe Boulevard.

The owner, Marvin Baptiste, has been arrested for failing to appear in court, and now he faces foreclosure on the property. Other nearby businesses want to see the eyesore torn down.

When renovations on the old Heritage House Hotel started in late 2006, J. B. Womack was hopeful... not anymore. "It's just gotten worse," he says.

And it's now affecting his business at Thrifty Car Rental. "Very obvious that it's affected the neighborhood and the businesses and I'd just like to see it either cleaned up or torn down."

That's what Code Enforcement Director Mike Tilson wants to happen. After property owner Marvin Baptiste didn't show up for court on a vacant property violation, Tilson had him arrested.

"Judge Weaver issued him an order to register the vacant property called the Heritage House and also has him coming back next Thursday for an update," said Tilson.

One of the objectives Mike Tilson has immediately is that all openings on the ground floor are covered and secured.

Now, Baptiste is facing foreclosure on the property, which will be auctioned July 1st. City Manager Alfred Lott says whether Baptiste keeps the property, or someone else buys it, it will be cleaned up. "We're going to stay after whoever owns that property to do something about it, to deal with it."

Which makes Womack hopeful once again. "The neighborhood and all the businesses around it are affected by it just because of the way it looks."

A look that will soon be modified.

The Heritage House Hotel has been vacant since 1995. Baptiste bought it in 2006, but ran into some financial trouble when he was forced to do asbestos abatement.

An employee also won a workers compensation claim for more than $400,000 due to health problems from working around the asbestos.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=HeritageHouse-KC-6/17

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