Complex near LSU halts leases, cites 'substantial defects'

Complex near LSU halts leases, cites 'substantial defects'

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Owners of University House, a $108 million upscale housing community near LSU, have halted new leases and are moving some residents from the property because of what owners describe as "substantial defects" and "pervasive leaking."

The owners of University House, The Scion Group, are suing the builder claiming they have already encountered $3.2 million in needed repairs to the property and anticipate having to spend millions more.

In a lawsuit filed against the builder last year, University House also claimed to have discovered "microbial growth" in the building.

Eric Bronstein, Executive V.P. of Scion, said Wednesday that Scion has "taken extensive precautions to make sure residents have not been exposed to anything that would be a health concern."

Two current residents tell WAFB they have been given the option to either move to one of the company's three other housing communities in Baton Rouge or remain at the current property and endure major construction noise.

"We are talking directly with each and every resident of the University House community and continuing to ensure they have housing where they will enjoy the quality residential experience that they deserve," Bronstein said in an email to WAFB.

In a lawsuit filed last year, the owners claim that after purchasing the relatively new property in 2015, it was discovered to have "substantial defects in workmanship and construction, including without limitation pervasive leaking and mechanical defects that have caused a severe disruption of tenants and millions of dollars in damages and necessary repairs."

The lawsuit was filed against LMK Baton Rouge Construction, which was hired by the original developer Landmark Properties.

The complex at the north gates of LSU, opened in 2015 under the original name of The Standard and is mainly occupied by LSU students.

The 287-unit complex has a rooftop pool overlooking Tiger Stadium.

University House says, when it purchased the property, LMK warranted that its work on the building would be free from defects and agreed to repair or pay to repair any defects that were discovered but has failed to do so.

In the lawsuit, University House says that, during the warranty period, they discovered "multiple instances of defective workmanship and materials." They claim to have also "uncovered work done by LMK that significantly deviated from the project plans," the lawsuit alleges.

We were unable to reach LMK Construction for comment. A spokesman for Landmark Properties says he could not comment on pending litigation.

Construction is expected to begin as early as next month and be completed by July 2019.

The lawsuit is still pending in the 19th Judicial District Court.

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