COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Unless you lived or worked here, you’ve never seen these scenes from inside the Ralston Towers.
It took the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 10 months and a reinspection to shut down the building and relocate the nearly 150 low-income residents in August 2020.
Today, News 3 toured the building with Greg Jones, a partner at Infinity. We got to see the rough shape of the building before its December 2022 completion date, a date announced in a morning news conference.
“Over the last two years, this property was active with residents. There was water damage in many places,” Jones said. “Pipes in the ceiling in this lobby area were leaking, and often times there were buckets like those over there catching water.”
About 150 people lived in those conditions under the ownership of New Jersey-based PF Holdings before HUD finally closed the Ralston and relocated its residents.
“The water was coming from a 6th floor leak,” Jones said. “And it puddled up on the floor above here.”
With water comes mold, a problem made worse while the building was boarded up for 10 months. But the problems were not limited to mold. An estimated 425 health deficiencies came out of its pre-closing HUD inspection report.
Since last August, people have been getting into the building, living there and taking pipes and anything else that could be sold for salvage. They accessed the building through an adjacent parking deck.
“They would jump across, go across the second floor roof and into the building.”
The first phase of renovations is removing all the debris. That work is already under way.
Despite all of the issues, the building comes with amazing views and historic touches.
“These are beautiful, beautiful windows,” Jones said. “These railings. You look and you see the neglect of the railings. But you see what these could be.”