Brandywine Condominiums in line for massive renovations by local developers

Long an eyesore for residents around Darryl Drive, the Brandywine Condominiums are in line for a massive upgrade.

City Holdings LLC, represented by local attorney Roy Maughan, placed the only bids last week at an adjudicated property sale for two bundles of condos, bidding $10,000 for a group of 118 condos and $7,500 for another bundle of 90 condos. The company plans full-scale renovations to the property to make it livable again.

The Metro Council will vote at its meeting Wednesday whether to approve the purchase.

District 6 Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis, who represents the area, says most of the condos are vacant and some have been condemned. On this week’s council agenda, there are 16 condemnations from Brandywine Condominiums that Collins-Lewis says she will try to defer, as she has done several times before to allow Maughan and his partners time to get their plan in place.

Some neighbors of Brandywine have pushed Collins-Lewis to have the whole dilapidated complex condemned. But those neighbors learned at a recent meeting that even if it were condemned, they would still have to wait several years before bulldozers demolished the complex, she says.

Collins-Lewis says she put the decision up to her constituents—either let Maughan and his partners renovate the complex or have it condemned—and they chose to give the developers a crack at renovations.

“It will be worth everything to the community,” Collins-Lewis says of having the complex renovated. She describes the complex as something that has given her and neighbors  heartburn over the years.

The property has deteriorated over the years with multiple owners coming through, some promising to fix the problems plaguing the complex, but nothing has been done. Fires have destroyed some units.

Attempts to reach Maughan for specifics on his plans were unsuccessful as of this morning’s deadline.

William Aaron, special assistant parish attorney and head of adjudicated properties in the Parish Attorney’s Office, says most of the condos Maughan’s group purchased have been adjudicated for more than five years.

Since it purchased the condos from the city-parish, City Holdings will have to send out all the public notices to former owners themselves to let those former owners know they are purchasing the property.

“There’s going to be hundreds of people, thousands of names that need to be contacted,” Aaron says.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, council members will hold public hearings and possibly vote on whether to create the Economic Opportunity Zone in north Baton Rouge and whether to give City Court judges the ability to assess a fee to fund the City Court Technology Fund.

The council will also introduce several notable items, such as amending the 2016 expense budget to allocate money for phase two of the Metro Council chambers renovation; authorizing the mayor or chairman of the Airport Commission to increase parking and usage fees at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport; receiving a six-month report update from EMS Prison Medical Services; and requesting the Parish Attorney’s Office to look into financial incentives to bring a hospital to north Baton Rouge. Public hearings and possible votes on those items would be set for Feb. 24.

The council convenes at 4 p.m. on the third floor of City Hall, 222 St. Louis St. See the full agenda.

—Ryan Broussard

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