Hundreds of residents of Northshore Apartments in downtown Austin have been out of power to their units for two weeks. But the company that runs the building said it expects electricity to return to the upper floors sometime on Friday.
The complex lost power on the evening of April 28 after an electrical intake box and about 80 lines of pipe fell from the ceiling in a garage to enter service and load below the main parking area, according to Rachel Yeager of the Austin Division of Law Enforcement.
Falling materials damaged a car owned by a diner who was eating at the ATX Cocina, located on the premises.
Northshore is operated by Greystar, a global rental company that includes dozens of Austin apartment complexes. The property management company said it plans to conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the outages so it can take precautions to make sure they don’t happen again.
The plan is to restart the power in three phases starting at the top floor of the building and moving to approximately the 23rd floor. There is no specific timetable for when the second and third phases will be implemented.
“We have to work with the city that has to operate each network and communicate with our repair team before we can return power to each phase,” the management team said in a statement to American-Statesman.
A Notice of Northshore property infringement was issued by city law enforcement on April 29, which gave the management company 48 hours to submit an action plan to repair the damaged electrical system. The plan requires a schedule for repairs and information about how apartment managers can provide tenants with temporary services. The infringement notice also states that the property does not have sufficient hot water and requires the complex’s managers to find a way to provide hot water to the tenants within two days.
Yeager said law enforcement investigators did not observe any structural damage to the concrete roof or parking surface at the site.
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The notice gives the apartment complex 30 days to obtain permits and repair damage to the electrical system. The statesman submitted an open records request to the city for a copy of the business plan.
Apartments in Northshore aren’t cheap, with a one-bedroom apartment listed online for $2,752 a month and a two-bedroom condo for about $5,000 a month. The building has an estimated market value of $307 million, according to Travis Central Appraisal District.
Because of the soaring temperatures in Austin over the past two weeks, the property department has recommended residents relocate temporarily, according to a written statement. The residents received a daily stipend in the hotel and food and will receive a reduction in rent for the month of May.
The management company said most residents have temporarily moved into alternative housing. Electricity is still connected to the property’s common areas, retail tenants, and emergency systems, the statement said.
This issue is still ongoing with the city’s law enforcement department, and Yeager said follow-up inspections will be conducted until all issues are resolved and brought back into compliance.
The apartment complex has electric crews working to restore electricity, according to the apartment management team. The Office of Property Management said no injuries were reported, and the Austin Fire Department and emergency response crews were immediately deployed to assess the situation.
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Austin Energy spokesman Matt Mitchell said employees from the facility were on site in April to disconnect the city side from the power source so the apartment complex can arrange repairs.
“Austin Energy does not engage in actual repairs like this on private property, but we do provide consultancy upon request. The company itself is responsible for making the repairs, going through the permitting and inspection process with the city,” Mitchell wrote in an email. Licensing and Inspection With the city, Austin Energy is back to inspect and make sure everything is ready to reconnect the power. Once this is confirmed, we reconnect the power to activate that feature.”
Mitchell said Austin Energy is available to consult with commercial and residential customers about repairs. In this case, he said, the property management company declined the advice, which he said was not unusual.