Local News

Neighbors want unfinished houses condemned, razed

Posted March 25, 2009

— A Raleigh developer's bankruptcy has left the Villages at Beaver Dam subdivision pocked by unfinished houses, and residents want the structures removed.

St. Lawrence Homes developed the neighborhood, off Smithfield Road, but was able to complete about two dozen of its planned 150 houses before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. Half-finished houses and debris-filled empty lots surround the homes that families have bought.

Villages at Beaver Dam, St. Lawrence Homes Developer: Unfinished homes no hazard

"It's very, very ugly to drive up to. It's not a pleasant place to drive home to in the afternoon after you've paid all this money for these homes," resident Lasonya Downing said.

Downing bought a home in Villages at Beaver Dam eight months ago, envisioning a safe, quiet, beautiful place where her children could grow up. The neighborhood promised upscale homes and amenities like walking trails.

"They sold us on all these stories, and they're not even coming through with half of it," she said. "There have been promises made that haven't been kept."

Downing and Knightdale officials said the unfinished houses aren't just eyesores. The construction sites are a safety hazard for area children, they said.

"I think it's very dangerous. It's dangerous to anyone that even goes in that home," Downing said of an unfinished house next door to hers.

St. Lawrence Homes spokesman Richard Ohmann said all home sites have been secured and pose no hazard. He blamed the nationwide credit crunch and the downturn in the housing market for the company's financial troubles, but he said officials plan to reorganize and finish their developments.

Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen said town officials have talked with St. Lawrence Homes officials about the problem.

"They want to help. They feel bad about this, but at the end of the day, they don't have any money," Killen said.

Town officials are reviewing their options, including working with the bankruptcy court to fund cleaning up the lots and possibly condemning and tearing down some of the unfinished houses.

"It's not Knightdale. It's not the image any town wants to project," Killen said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • thill19601 Mar 27, 2009

    I am a previous contractor for ST.Lawrence. I want all of you to know that I am PROUD of THAT Lady!!! She is standing up for herself. Had Bob brought a home in that neighborhood he would have done the same thing. His neighborhood doesn't look like that. Ask him about the millions that he has made over the past twenty years. Surely, he doesn't need to file for bankruptcy. You say that she is whiny well he is whining to the courts for help, so why shouldn't she whine to him. He is protecting his money and she wants her investment protected. Where is all his money in different accounts and different names? What about me? I did work for him and I haven't been PAID!!!!!! I had to but liens against peoples homes. Do you think you would like that to happen to your home? All he wants to do is sit on his money and use the government to bail him out as well. So stick with it Lady. Don't let him win.. Greedy is what he is.

  • St Ives Mar 26, 2009

    I don't understand how Bob Ohman could have gotten in to this situation. Wht has happened to all the millions he has made over the last twenty years!

  • doubletap357 Mar 26, 2009

    Could the owner of St. Lawerence donate the uncompleted homes to Habitat for Humanity and have its volunteers - and new owners - complete the homes?

    Only if the Court says he can. The property is still considered either assets or liabilities of the business that is in control of the court. They can't sell a box of nails right now without being cleared by the court.

  • smitty Mar 26, 2009

    Back in the day the local kids with their cigarette lighters would have taken care of this problem a long time ago.

  • colliedave Mar 26, 2009

    Could the owner of St. Lawerence donate the uncompleted homes to Habitat for Humanity and have its volunteers - and new owners - complete the homes? The guy gets a nice tax deduction, the homes are completed, and people who donate sweat equity get a new home?

  • Bendal1 Mar 26, 2009

    Let's have some sympathy, now. Those people who signed multi-hundred thousand dollar mortgages for their lot homes are seeing these "eyesores" hurt their housing prices! Won't someone think of the equity being lost here? Why, the next thing you'll be telling me is these people deserve to have their subdivision completed just like on the brochure, complete with finished homes, sidewalks, happy Stepford-like families everywhere, and everything all nice and neat and exactly like every other packaged subdivision around here.

    Because, you know, if the developer can't finish up, some other developer might come in and build (gasp) LOWER PRICED HOMES (horror! shudder!) in THEIR subdivision, and let "those people" move in right next to them! We can't have that, now can we?

  • doubletap357 Mar 26, 2009

    I believe under chapter 11 the company cannot do anything with it's assets with out the expressed permission of the Courts

  • ncguy Mar 26, 2009

    I would bet that the owners pockets are deep enough to finish them out of his own pocket- that's what and who they should go after.
    Years and years of making millions and they have no money?

    Oh you mean the owners are still millionaires but the company has none?

    So go after them personally- not the company.

  • this is my Screen Name Mar 26, 2009

    If only all of our economic problems were so bad. All of us are facing things in this economy that are not convenient and we'd love to change. Sorry you paid all that money for your home and have the disgrace of unfinished houses. Ever think about the many people who have actual financial problems to worry about rather than having to look at "eyesores"? Have some cheese with your whine. Sheesh.

  • giovanni777777 Mar 26, 2009

    uhhh, this must hurt the poor little rich people's pride.