Muscatine Welch Apartments residents moved to local hotels amid structural concerns

Muscatine residents displaced from unsafe building
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 4:45 PM CDT
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MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) - Residents at Welch Apartments, a residence known for accommodating adults 55-years-old and up, have been relocated from their apartments into local hotels amid concerns raised about the structural integrity of the building.

The Richman Group, property owners of the building housing the Welch Apartments proactively stated that they addressed a potentially serious situation late last week by voluntarily evacuating 17 residents, according to a media release from the City of Muscatine. The decision was made after consultation with a structural engineer regarding “building walls, and floors pulling away from the wall” that were discovered in the building.

Currently, only the building manager and maintenance person have access to the building, according to the media release.

Kathlene Maylone, a resident at Welch for eleven years, is currently living in a nearby hotel until new arrangements can be made.

“They had us all to pack pack up and get out the same day,” said Maylone, “so you didn’t get the chance to have any idea of what to pack or where to go or how much to pack. She added, “Being so out of your home after 11 years. You don’t know what to think of where to go or what to do.”

Until more is known about the risk posed by the building to pedestrians and vehicles, the sidewalks and parking spaces next to the Welch Apartments on West 3rd Street and Iowa Avenue have been closed, according to a spokesperson for the City of Muscatine.

The property owners says that he is housing the residents in a local hotel and providing them a dining stipend. The process of finding all the residents new places to live started on Monday when the residents met with the property owner and the City of Muscatine Housing Department to discuss their options, according to the media release.

In a statement from The Richman Group they said:

“As the safety of our tenants is the primary concern for the owner, after observing some cracks in the exterior bricks of this 100-year-old building, we immediately engaged a structural engineer to inspect the building. As soon as the inspector recommended that the building needed to be evacuated, we took immediate action that day to relocate the tenants to temporary housing. Upon further inspections, it was determined that the building was unsafe for any occupancy or event temporary entrance to recover belongings. It is unknown at this time, the timing or even the feasibility of securing the building and bringing tenants back. Until more information is available, the management agent is working with the residents and the community to find permanent alternative affordable housing for the residents. We continue to closely monitor the situation,” the statement concluded.

According to the media release, the property owner says once new places to live have been found for the residents at Welch Apartments, the owner will pay movers to relocate the residents’ belongings to their new residences.

However, the property owner said that the building will need to be temporarily shored up before movers will be allowed inside, and the process of hiring a contractor to do this work, which should begin this week, is currently underway.

Structural engineers from Klingner & Associates were hired to assess the extent of the issues with the building and to determine potential remedies for the Welch Apartments building, according to the media release. The property owner is awaiting the report and will make a decision on whether to repair or demolish the structure based on the findings.