After 8-year dispute with property owner, city starts demolition of ‘Termite Terrace’

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jan 14, 2015

ST GEORGE, Utah – Demolition of a condemned, abandoned apartment building began this week, and city officials said it's taken eight years of back and forth with the property owner to reach this point.

The city condemned the West Cove Apartments on 300 West and 100 South in 2006 and 2007, but a city spokesperson, Marc Mortensen, said resistance from property owner Richard Cooper prevented them from doing anything until now.

“It’s long overdue for the city to have this property razed,” Mortensen said.

The battle over what neighbors call “Termite Terrace” came to a head last month after Cooper passed away, leaving the property to a trust. The city took the issue to court, and a judge issued a court order allowing the city to take action. Earlier this month, the city council approved a $90,000 bid to have the apartments torn down.

Neighbors said they’re glad to finally see some movement on the property. Jerry Cox lives across the street and said the apartments have been an eyesore and a place for drugs and vagrancy.

“A lot of things going on over there, and a couple times it’s carried over to my property,” Cox said.

Local developer Dan Larsen said he’s working with Cooper’s son to take care of the property. Larsen said Cooper’s son understands where the city and neighbors are coming from and is already looking at redevelopment plans.

"Now that the son has taken over, he just wants everything to kind of be in the history, in the past,” Cooper said. “He wants the neighborhood to be improved. He wants the city to come together.”

Crews have already started to do asbestos abatement. The buildings themselves should come down by the end of January.