Raze order has Waukesha condo owners facing multi-million dollar cost to demolish embattled building

NOW: Raze order has Waukesha condo owners facing multi-million dollar cost to demolish embattled building

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The embattled Waukesha condo building must be torn down, according to a new raze order issued this week by the fire inspector.

That order says the owners must pay to demolish the building within the next 120 days.

For more than a month, the condo owners have been paying mortgages on a home they're not living in. Many are also paying rent on temporary housing. Now they've been told the building must come down within 120 days, and the cost could be in the millions.

Al Pulcifer is a resident and the building manager. He said, "Verbally we've been told by a contractor who had some contractors walk through the building a while back, close to $2 million just to raze the building."

Pulcifer and every other Horizon West owner is staring at a potential price tag of $40,000 apiece after the fire inspector issued a raze order this week. The order says the building is "so out of repair as to be dangerous" and "unfit for human habitation."

Pulcifer says it's not a surprise after critical structural damage was discovered in December, but it's still a shock and a disappointment.

The cost to demolish is still lower than the cost to repair, but Pulcifer said, "The big question is: where is the money going to come from?"

Right now it's not coming from insurance companies. In the early days of the evacuation there was at least some relative optimism insurance companies would help out, but so far Al says none of the residents have gotten anything. "I've heard early on that some may have indicated they might help with moving or rental or something, but I haven't heard of anyone actually getting that."

Al's purchased his unit outright, so he doesn't have mortgage payments. But he did take out a significant insurance policy, paid into it for years, but now when he needs it most it's not paying off. He said, "Our insurance company has said there's nothing in our policy that is covered. So it appears at this point we have no hope of getting anything."

The condo owners have 30 days to appeal the raze order. It will be discussed at the board meeting this coming Tuesday, Jan. 11.

A full association meeting is expected, but Pulcifer says a concern is how to get ahold of everyone, because many people have already moved out of state.

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