UPDATE: What’s next for the Ralston Towers?

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - An update now on The Ralston Towers in Columbus, the former subsidized housing building that was deemed unlivable due to multiple HUD violations back in 2019.

At last check, the building was set to get a $10 million full-interior demolition and extensive redevelopment, which had a completion date come December 2022.

By the looks of it, the outside of the Ralston Towers looks the same: untouched. News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams talked with the construction company over the project, and they assured that they have been working on the inside for more than a year now.

“Things are progressing,” Mayor Skip Henderson said. “It’s never as fast as we would like, but they are moving toward a completion.”

You may remember just three years ago, in a wrongful death lawsuit, the family of a man who died at the Ralston Towers was awarded a $125 million settlement. It happened in 2017. The Muscogee County Coroner ruled 62-year-old Charles Hart’s death was a health-related issue aggravated by the heat. The building’s AC was not working.

Fast forward to June of last year, a firm out of Atlanta bought the historic property with plans to spend $10 million on the redevelopment project.

“Shut it down before anyone else was put in danger was the first step,” Henderson explained. “Once that was completed, then it was sold through a receivership to the individual that’s working on it now. We’ve got a local contractor. Our inspectors have visited on numerous occasions... probably more regular than we visit other locations, but it’s in progress. It’s moving.”

We talked with the local contractors mentioned, Freeman & Associates. They said they’ve been working for the past year, and so far, the inside has been completely demolished, mold issues have been addressed and a new AC cooler tower installed, to name a few improvements.

Mayor Skip Henderson said the original completion date of December 2022 has been pushed back due

“We want to take care of people who need resources provided for them to have a quality, safe place to live, and that is I think where we are moving with this,” Henderson said.

A total of 136 units is expected once completed.

The project is now on track for a new completion date of December 2023 as low income apartments