San Marcos students could return in a week to evacuated apartments

Some of the 162 residents of Vie Lofts in San Marcos were allowed back into their apartments Monday morning. It was only a brief visit to collect a few personal belongings.

For some, the flaws they lived with didn’t seem to pose an immediate threat, let alone an immediate evacuation

“It is not something that we expected at all but it has not been that terrible, the people who work in this apartment and the city, everything that’s come together has actually done, a good job, to make this as seamless as easy as it is possible for everyone I think,” said Bethany Ortiz.

The building was evacuated Friday night. City officials did not provide specifics regarding why the evacuation was necessary, only saying there were concerns structurally and with emergency stairway exits. From the sidewalk, some settling can be seen in the concrete floor. There are few cracks in the brickwork as well as some paneling that has separated from the ceiling, including to a section above electrical boxes.

Egla Ochoa-Madrid said she never felt unsafe in the building. 

“I mean the staircases were kind of narrow but the sides that know sometimes the elevator wasn’t working so I felt like if that was the only issue sometimes the elevator wasn’t working,” said Ochoa-Madrid.

The residential complex was built about eight years ago and the current owner hasn’t had it that long. It was purchased the back in January. Derrick Milam with Vie Management was at the site Monday with structural engineers. They spent the morning doing an assessment around and in the complex.

“Today we’re here to go through the building to help identify any of the issues that were raised that led to the closure of the building and we hope to get those resolved immediately," said Milam.

City officials arrived later Monday afternoon and another sweep of the building was done. The city brought in its own set of engineers. The two groups spent the afternoon going over the data that was collected.

The plan now is to have the residents back in the complex in a week, but there is no firm date because the city is requiring some repairs to be made.

Milam said he is waiting for a final list from the city but says the city wants a door to a stairway replaced and some work done on another staircase. Milam said no structural flaws were found and declined to comment about the decision by the city to evacuate the complex.