Demolition begins at blighted, crime-ridden apartment complex in Whitehall

A troubled apartment complex in Whitehall will soon be gone forever. (WSYX/WTTE)

WHITEHALL, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A troubled apartment complex in Whitehall will soon be gone forever.

Demolition work started Friday at the Commons At Royal Landing on Fairway Blvd in Whitehall. This is the largest residential demolition effort in Franklin County and the most important redevelopment effort in Whitehall’s history.

“It is exciting to help transform this blighted property, which is currently a drain on local and county resources into an actual viable community asset,” said Franklin County Treasurer Cheryl Brooks Sullivan.

This area has been an eyesore for the community for many years. In 2016, police were called out there almost 400 times.

“After being a source of constant problems for too many years, city officials took action in 2016 and purchased this surrounding apartment complex,” said Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard.

A few years ago, a 4-year-old boy died after being pinned underneath a kitchen oven. Police said the oven was being used to warm the apartment. The city had warned the complex’s owner about the lack of heat in several units. That’s why the city decided to take matters into its own hands and purchased the 17-acre property for about $5 million to begin much needed change.

“Today’s construction kick off signifies the largest residential demolition effort in the entire country,” said Mayor Maggard.

Whitehall's mayor was the first to take a swing at the demolition by hopping into one of the cranes. The crowd cheered as the roof partially collapsed. A total of 48 buildings will be destroyed to make room for a new development called the “Norton Crossing.” It will be a mixed-used residential retail and office development.

The groundbreaking of that new construction will begin next spring for a grand opening in the fall of 2019.

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