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City Wants Destroyed Apartments Removed

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The owner of the Cedar Street apartment building that pancaked in Monday’s deluge must remove the destroyed structure before residents can return to their homes next door, city officials said Friday.

City building inspectors also told Henry Baghdady, the owner of the $1.4-million complex, that he must conduct a geological survey of the steep water-soaked hillside that continues to threaten the area with more mudslides.

The city requirements likely mean that residents at 604 and 608 Cedar Street may not be able to move back into their apartments for one to two months, said Robert Prodoehl, a Ventura building official.

But Baghdady, who just completed purchase Dec. 30 on the multi-unit complex that includes 600 through 612 Cedar Street, said he can neither pay for the work needed nor can he afford to go without rental income for that long.

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“If the city won’t help me, I may have to close the property down, file for bankruptcy and walk away from this whole thing,” said Baghdady, a Los Angeles property investor and owner of Thrifty Property Management.

Prodoehl responded that the city would attempt to help obtain financing for Baghdady, whose insurance will not pay for the removal costs.

Meanwhile, many residents of the complex continued to receive assistance from the Red Cross, which has housed them in local motels and hotels and will supply first month’s rent for new apartments.

The residents were displaced Monday night when a mudslide 20-stories high slammed into 612 Cedar St.--a 12-unit building nearest to the hillside.

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Residents of the building already had been evacuated so no one was injured, but the collapsed structure came to rest against 608 and 604 Cedar.

Apartment dwellers at 600 Cedar--closest to the street--also were told to vacate their homes, but they were allowed to return Thursday.


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