Deal signed, but problems far from over at complex
Engineers will survey the building; the potential buyer will weigh repairs.
A prospective buyer has emerged for the problem-ridden Wood Ridge Apartments in Southeast Austin, where a walkway collapse in May prompted dozens of tenants to evacuate.
George Sommerville, an attorney representing the possible buyer, described the contract between the two parties as “a moving target” in an update Monday to the Austin Building and Standards Commission. He declined to publicly disclose his client’s name, saying the media frenzy over the case could distract from negotiations.
“It is a little bit of a delicate dance,” he told the committee on what could be said to tenants about the progress. The agreement signed Dec. 3 includes several con-
SRead previous coverage of the Wood Ridge Apartments with this story at to buy the complex. He also told the commission that the original property owner has freed up some money to begin some of the repairs, though Sommerville said he did not know how much.
No one was injured in the May 17 collapse at Wood Ridge, 1900 Burton Drive, but more than 160 residents were temporarily evacuated.
Five months later, after the complex racked up more than 700 violations, all of the walkways have had temporary shoring, and code officials say the grounds are safe. But the buildings will remain substandard until permanent reconstruction work is undertaken, and the current owners say they don’t have the financial means to make that happen. Jones stepped down to run unsuccessfully for the Texas Senate.
Garcia’s term was set to expire at the end of the year, but he resigned Dec. 7.
The new military judge in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting case has called a scheduling hearing for next Tuesday, the first hearing since a military appeals court removed the original judge, Col. Gregory Gross, for the appearance of bias earlier this month.
But experts say the scheduling order does not necessarily mean the long-delayed court-martial is imminent. Col. Tara Osborn, appointed to the case last week, still needs to rule on the issue that led to Gross’s removal: whether shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan will be allowed to keep his beard.
Hasan, who faces the death penalty on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, began growing a beard before the court-martial was scheduled to begin in August. Hasan argued the beard, which violates Read previous coverage of the case with this story at Army grooming regulations, is protected by laws governing religious liberty. Gross disagreed and held Hasan in contempt of court numerous times before he was removed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Services, which ruled “it could reasonably appear to an objective observer that the military judge had allowed the proceedings to become a duel of wills between himself and (Hasan).”
But the court did not weigh in on the beard issue. “That to me is the most frustrating part of the whole thing, that the (appeals) court has punted and said ‘Let’s start over,’” said Geoffrey Corn, a military law expert at South Texas College of Law.