UA students upset about construction delays

By Devin Walker
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 20, 2006

Faulty construction and constant delays are two of the problems plaguing a student-housing complex near campus, six months after the complex was pegged for completion.

Many UA student residents of the complex wonder why the building is taking so long, said Chase Sutherland, an engineering senior and resident of The Seasons Apartments, 811 E. Wetmore Road.

"I signed my lease because I expected the place to be done," Sutherland said. "The construction is not even close to being done and the bar isn't either."

Students who live in The Seasons were promised construction on the buildings would be completed by last August. But completion has been postponed indefinitely.

In October, the Arizona Daily Wildcat reported that some students were forced to stay in hotels because construction on the five-building complex was not completely finished.

Three months later, students are now discovering faults in the construction that they say could be hazardous to residents.

"One time I went through these security gates," Sutherland said. "I had to take a crowbar and literally jack (them open), and it barely opened."

Sutherland also claims he was charged for his September rent after being promised by Fina Companies that he wouldn't have to pay two months rent for time he spent in a hotel.

Kathleen Hudson, a communications junior, said she's had to deal with a number of problems at The Seasons.

"We live on the fourth floor and the elevators don't work," Hudson said. "They haven't worked for the whole year and instead I have to use the stairs every time."

Hudson also said she hasn't seen any real work done on the second building, which is supposed to have 24 apartments, retail shops and the bar.

"I'm not sure if I'm going to resign my lease or not," Hudson said. "It's kind of like we have to live here again just to reap the benefits."

Fina Companies, the real estate firm that developed The Seasons and The Standard Apartments, 1800 N. Stone Ave, has advertised on their Web site that the complex was completed and opened in July 2005.

The Fina Co. Web site identifies the company as "a deadline-intensive, results-focused company with a strong emphasis on delivery of promises. We do what it takes to insure the success of every project."

Residents said they are also waiting for the construction of retail shops, a restaurant and a bar, The Blur, that were supposed to be built on the premises before their leases expire in August.

When questioned about the future of The Blur, a Tucson Police Department spokesman said TPD was looking into preventing the opening through the Tucson City Department of Zoning.

"Typically, in order to build a bar, the Tucson Police Department would have to be in favor of it," said Jessie Sanders, deputy director of the city's Development Services Department. "They can place recommendations before a hearing council for any liquor license."

Wes Kuhl, a special investigator for the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, said they have not received an application. TPD officer Jeannie Nagore confirmed that an application has not been filed. It takes approximately 65 to 105 days to process an application for any liquor license application in the state of Arizona.

Marianne Palko, community manager of The Seasons, declined to comment on the completion of The Blur and other issues at the request of her boss Larry Lesueur, president of Cornerstone Management company, the company in charge of managing The Seasons.

Other problems in the apartment complex range from faulty welding of balcony banisters to newly installed security gates that have already broken, Sutherland said.

Carl Saul, superintendent of The Seasons' construction, blamed deficient plans for the delay of construction on the apartment complex in an Aug. 29 interview with the Wildcat, but declined to comment on the recent issues with the apartment complex.

To help compensate current residents for the construction delays, the complex has waved a $75 monthly gym fee for all residents.