BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Big changes could be coming for a housing complex that has been the scene of trouble for years. Many wanted the Brandywine Condominiums condemned and torn down, but city leaders may pave the way for a renovation instead.
The complex, which is tucked away off North Sherwood Forest Drive, show signs of its checkered past. The front gate is busted and bent and trash overflows from dumpsters. Most windows are busted or boarded up. Just a few weeks ago, a man died in a fire that blazed through a vacant unit.
"There's no one to maintain the property and so the conditions around the community are really bad. People whose homes or properties back up to Brandywine, it's a problem for them," said East Baton Rouge Councilwoman Donna Lewis.
Since 2009, the 300-unit complex has been a story of frustration and often, confusion. Delinquent utility bills and absentee owners have led most tenants to leave. Though a few remain.
A group of remaining owners have gotten together over the years to fix up units as they can, cutting grass near occupied apartments and running off trespassers. Around 20 of the units remain occupied.
However, the overall condition of the property has led some neighbors to call for condemnation. Most of the units have fallen under parish control due to unpaid taxes.
Now, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council may choose to sell those off instead of tearing them down. Lewis said a local lawyer who already owns several units will be placing a bid for 200 others during the council's next meeting on Wednesday. According the council agenda, the units will be bid on in two different groups for a total of $17,500.
"The hope is that the holding company that's going to acquire them will be able to renovate them. They're investing a great deal of money in them. So this is not something they've taken lightly," said Lewis.
The interested buyer, according to Lewis, is City Holdings, L.L.C., a company owned by lawyer Roy Maughan. Lewis added that Maughan plans to work with the few residents that still call the complex home.
Lazarus McDaniel, who owns two apartments, said he's fearful they'll just be overlooked.
"If they really want to do something, then talk to us," said McDaniel.