Hired contractor fails to move house at Bridges at Mint Hill site
A dismantled house on Bain School Road in Mint Hill, once used as a construction office at the Bridges at Mint Hill mall site, is up on steel columns and ready to move. It’s been that way for months and neighbors are miffed.
But both county and town officials say there’s nothing they can do to force the contractor to finish the job.
Property owner Charlotte-based Childress Klein Properties hired Mint Hill resident Brian Robinson, of Queen City Movers, also known as Queen City Green Inc., to move the house off the site. Robinson got a permit for the work in December 2011, but that permit expired in June. The town has received numerous complaints from nearby residents about the stalled project. Among those is Barbara Goldberg, who lives near the site.
“For a number of weeks it actually looked like the home was going to be removed- albeit brick by brick. Then, suddenly, everything stopped and the residents of Mint Hill are left with a sickening mess,” she said in an email. “Surely there is something or someone who can get this project over and done with. It is a sad state of affairs when out-of-town guests have to look at this as they enter our (town) for the first time and we are at a loss to explain the situation.”
Childress Klein was apologetic this week for the lack of progress.
“We are disappointed that a local contractor has failed to live up to his agreement with us, but we are working hard to achieve a resolution as quickly as possible,” the company’s Chris Thomas said in an email. “We certainly apologize to the community for the unsightly mess … and (we) look forward to having it corrected as quickly as possible.”
Robinson, the contractor, wouldn’t comment on the situation this week. He did, however, go to the county’s code enforcement office Friday, Aug. 10, to talk with inspectors about what he needed to do to reapply for a permit, county inspector Daren Bishop said. The business, at 15545 Thompson Road, has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau for failing to respond to the one complaint he’s received with the agency in the past three years, according to online records.
According to Bishop, Robinson will need to submit plans for moving the house before he can apply for another permit. Robinson told inspectors last week he found a place to move the house, Bishop said. Previous details showed the house was to be moved out of the county.
But unless Robinson attempts to move the house without a valid permit, there is no violation of county code, Bishop said.
“I don’t know what we can do to speed anything up on that. We don’t have anything violation wise that we can enforce on that situation,” he said. “If the house is secured – which it is because there’s a fence around it – and no one resides in it, we can’t do anything.”
And Mint Hill doesn’t have any teeth in its ordinances to handle it either, Code Enforcement Officer Margie Nichols said.
“There’s really no violation that we can point to now,” she said.
Childress Klein previously announced officials would return to Mint Hill commissioners with revised plans for the mall, located near Interstate 485, this fall. A date hasn’t been set.
Chicago-based General Growth Properties transferred ownership of the property to spin-off company Howard Hughes almost two years ago as part of financial restructuring after filing for bankruptcy.
When the project was first announced, developers planned an open-air, 1.3 million-square-foot shopping complex with a five-story hotel; movie theater; three anchor department stores, including Belk; and two combination vehicle-pedestrian bridges across Goose Creek. Only grading work was done at the site before work stopped.