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Circle University City apartments moving out all residents for repairs to units

The entrance to Circle University City Apartments at 9010 University City Blvd. in Charlotte.
The entrance to Circle University City Apartments at 9010 University City Blvd. in Charlotte. mhames@charlotteobserver.com

A newly built student housing apartment complex is moving all of its residents out and making modifications to the floors of its units after a report of a partial ceiling collapse in January.

Circle University City Apartments, owned and developed by Charlotte-based Crescent Communities, said there are no safety problems and the repairs are being done “out of an abundance of caution.”

All residents at the 187-unit complex located directly across from UNC Charlotte’s main entrance must move out by Tuesday, June 2, said spokeswoman Heather Tamol.

“Certain modifications are warranted throughout the community because of suspected concerns with the prefabricated floor trusses,” said Tamol. Modifications will be made during June and July, and Tamol said they should be complete by the start of the fall semester.

“The Circle University City community is constructed to building code standards, and we have worked with a forensic engineering firm to verify that no safety issues exist,” said Tamol.

Residents were notified Tuesday evening in an apartment-wide email. The company said students would be released from the next two months of their lease, and would received a $500 gift card as a “move-out inconvenience fee.”

Residents who renewed their lease for next year will receive accommodations at a hotel, with double room occupancy required, $140 a week to defray extra expenses, storage for belongings and shuttle service to and from the school.

Some said they had noticed problems with the floors in their units. Manal Mahmoud said there were problems with her floor moving, and that it shakes when the washer and dryer run.

“If you jump up and down, you can definitely feel it,” she said. She and her roommate Kalee Wilson said they were going to try to get out of their lease, since they already signed for next year.

Wilson said she was upset about having only a week to vacate their apartment and find a new place to live.

“This is the most inconvenient thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life,” she said.

Cara Orduño said she wasn’t sure where she would stay, since she works on campus and wants to stay nearby. She said the building should have been better inspected before Circle University opened.

“If the inspectors have issues with it now, they should have had issues with it before we ever moved in,” said Orduño.

The Niner Times, UNC Charlotte’s student newspaper, reported that part of the ceiling caved in over two students’ living room four months ago. There was a party in the room above at the time, and Crescent told the Niner Times that the upper unit was “overcrowded” with 80 to 100 people. No one was hurt, and Tamol said there was “only cosmetic damage” to the ceiling.

The company carried out a forensic engineering review of the apartments following the incident, and Tamol said that’s when more widespread issues were discovered.

Crescent announced the $36 million apartment project in 2012, and the complex opened last year. The apartments are loaded with amenities meant to entice students, including a pool, a tanning bed, outdoor fire pits and grills, granite counter tops, an outdoor movie screen, free Starbucks coffee in the lobby, hosted parties with free food and a rooftop party deck.

General contractor Adolfson & Peterson Construction constructed the complex. A representative of Adolfson & Peterson couldn’t immediately be reached late Tuesday.

The Circle University apartments are part of the city’s ongoing apartment-building boom. More than 10,400 apartments are under construction in Charlotte – a record number – and another 10,000 planned after that, according to apartment-tracking firm Real Data.

Crescent is developing or operates several other major Charlotte apartment complexes, including complexes in Dilworth and South End.

Portillo: 704-358-5041;

Twitter: @ESPortillo

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