Dilapidated buildings cleared around Second Street
Last updated 8/8/2023 at 8:15pm
Piles of rubble stand along a block of the an old apartment complex, ready to be loaded into trailers to be hauled off for disposal.
The rubble is from condemned buildings at the Sabine Park Apartments between First and Second Streets in the Old Orange Historic District.
Last week the demolition began on the wood-frame one, and two-story buildings. The city is paying the Lark Group $145,000 to demolish nine of the complex's buildings. A lien for the amount will be added to the property so the city can be paid back.
The old apartments weren't the only clean-up in the neighborhood. Across Second Street, between Green Avenue and Pine Avenue, a private landowner had a vacant, dilapidated nursing home demolished. The site has already been cleared with only a concrete foundation remaining.
The nursing home was built on the site between Second and Third streets in the early 1970s after the three-story brick Frances Ann Lutcher Hospital was demolished.
The live oak trees planted in the 1920s around the hospital block have been left standing. In addition, the city had the company demolishing the old apartments protect the live oak trees there.
The old apartment complex was originally named Gilmer Homes and built in the early 1940s for the influx of shipyard workers moving to Orange during World War II.
During the past 80 years, the apartments have changed ownership several times and gone through several renovations.
However, in recent years, the complex fell again into disrepair. During the Christmas 2022 hard freeze, a number of water and sewer pipes in the apartments broke. Management would not fix the problems and residents complained to the city.
The city shut down some units for health violations as water and sewage ran into the streets and units did not have running water or flushing toilets.
After many tries to get responses from the out-of-town property owner, the city filed condemnation papers against some of the units. City Judge Jim Bearden condemned the buildings and ordered their demolition.