The city of Yakima is taking steps to demolish the Savoy apartment building at 322 W. Yakima Ave.
City Code Administration Manager Glenn Denman said the complaint filed in Yakima County Superior Court will help decide the future of the building that was condemned and boarded up Aug. 23, 2021.
Prior to the Savoy building being condemned, the city received multiple reports of health and life safety deficiencies in the building, prompting city inspectors to visit. They found holes in walls between units, a nonfunctioning fire escape, broken windows and exterior doors that were not secure.
Former residents also described flood stains, rotted beams and mold from broken plumbing, overflowing toilets and insect infestations.
“(The complaint) is requesting that the city would be able to make a decision on that building, whether we demolish it or not,” Denman said.
He said repairing the building is still the favored option when considering costs and housing needs.
The price tag for demolishing the building would likely exceed $150,000, he estimated, with repairs to the fire alarms, fire escape, windows, walls and doors coming out to less than half that total.
“We don’t really want to demolish it,” Denman said. “We’d rather see it get up and running so that people can live there. It could be a nice place.”
Building owner Aaron Stewart had a year from the building being boarded to initiate repairs at the Savoy, but the city had received no permits for the needed work as of August, city spokesperson Randy Beehler said at the time.
The next step was a notice of demolition to involve the court.
All parties — loan companies, banks, private individuals and more — have been served with the complaint for demolition and have 20 days to respond, Denman said Monday. From there, a hearing will be set and the court will determine the outcome for the building, he said.
There is also a potential sale of the building to consider. A trustee sale is scheduled for the building Dec. 16, and no decisions will be made until after that sale takes place, according to Denman.
“We’re hoping that a new owner will emerge from that that will be willing to repair the building,” he said. “We’re hoping that it comes to a good resolution and that somebody can fix the building up and make it habitable.”
The Savoy property and another property owned by Stewart, the Senator Apartments at 31 N. Front St., are up for sale after a judgment in Yakima County Superior Court. The sale had been postponed several times since March, according to a public notice of sale from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.
Stewart has a history of violating city codes at the Savoy Apartments and other properties. The Senator building and the Cascade apartment building, formerly owned by Stewart, were both condemned under Stewart’s ownership. The Savoy was previously condemned after a fire in 2017.
The most recent sale scheduled for Nov. 18 was canceled, according to the notice. Seattle commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews was the plaintiff in the sale, according to the notice.