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Housing authority approves takeover of apartments plagued by mismanagement

The Sunset Plaza apartment complex, as seen from the sidewalk on East Independence Street.
Ben Abrams
/
KWGS News
The Sunset Plaza apartment complex, as seen from the sidewalk on East Independence Street.

The city's housing authority has voted to take control of a low-income apartment complex plagued by mismanagement.

On Thursday, the Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa (THA) voted unanimously and without public discussion to take over Sunset Plaza at 266 E. Independence St. during a special session. The complex is right across the street from THA’s own offices.

Erik Solivan, THA's chief of staff, said the city determined Sunset Plaza "was a chronic public nuisance" back in January "meaning that the property had reached a physical condition that threatened both the health and safety of the residents on-site, as well as residents and occupants and our employees at THA in the surrounding area."

Solivan presented the board with relevant information about the takeover, which will be carried out through eminent domain. The estimated cost of up to $2.25 million will be procured through various non-federal sources. Solivan said existing residents will be relocated.

A view of Sunset Plaza from the sidewalk on East Independence Street.
Ben Abrams
/
KWGS News
A view of Sunset Plaza from the sidewalk on East Independence Street.

According to THA, Sunset Plaza had been part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 program. HUD revoked the complex's contract after failed inspections.

The city fined the complex for missed water bills and, on more than one occasion, turned off the water. For the sake of the residents, running water was turned back on after HUD and THA advised the city.

"That bill has now exceeded over $100,000 in back due payments," said Solivan.

The owner had apparently been non-compliant during the process, not responding to a letter sent by THA offering to buy the complex, according to Solivan.

KWGS News tried reaching out to the owner of the complex, PF Sunset Plaza, a division of PF Holdings Group in Newark, New Jersey, but did not receive a response. KWGS News also attempted to contact the management team, but did not receive a response.

Ben Abrams is a news reporter and All Things Considered host for KWGS.
Check out all of Ben's links and contact info here.