House demolished after WIS highlighted it in Columbia blight investigation

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Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 5:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Columbia house is coming down after a WIS investigation showcased concerns about the safety risks it was posing to the community.

On Tuesday, a contractor began tearing down the home at 2329 Waites Road. A WIS investigation in November included the concerns of Homeless No More CEO Lila Anna Sauls, who said the home posed a safety risk to the community and her organization’s nearby campus.

As part of the investigation, WIS contacted the owner of the property who expressed a willingness to sell it.

Sauls proceeded to contact the owner and told WIS she was able to arrange for her non-profit to purchase the property with the help of a private donation.

The demolition began on Tuesday with the goal of having it completed in the following days.

She said the goal now is to replace it with a home within the year to be sold as affordable housing as a part of a program to create generational wealth in the community.

“It will be for families specifically, who may not be eligible normally if they were going to go through a normal lending program. Again, it is to make sure you’re helping build generational wealth with families who may not otherwise never own home,” she said.

Sauls said the proceeds of selling the home will cover its construction costs, describing it as “a wash.”

The Waites property is not the only house which will be coming down.

In April, Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson announced the city has identified 77 properties to tear down in the coming months, with the hopes they’ll be replaced by affordable housing.

The city sent out this timeline:

· Currently 77 properties identified in Round 1 and Round 2

· Round 1 includes 52 properties at this time that are ready or will soon be ready for solicitation of a demolition contractor

· Solicitation release target of May 1st with City Council approval in June

· Timeline is approximately 90 days from solicitation to demolition of the properties

· Round 2 includes 25 properties that are ready for Legal to issue demolition order and complete title search

· Round 2, is targeted to begin solicitation by September 2022

WIS has requested the list of properties identified.

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