Now that experts have completed inspections and the various Temporary Restraining Orders have expired, Wedgwood has been able to proceed with a plan for property move-outs. In addition, Wedgwood has completed the process of abating the asbestos in the stairwells and restoring the fire system so that it is fully operational to ensure that move-outs can be accomplished as safely and efficiently as possible.
The safety of Wedgwood's former tenants is a paramount concern during the move-outs. Accordingly, Wedgwood will hire an insured third-party moving company (currently expected to be Ward North American) to organize and pack all belongings from each resident's apartment and deliver those contents to any location within fifty (50) miles of Wedgwood. Those belongings will be placed in the tenant's new residence inside the point of entry. It will be the resident's responsibility to unpack their belongings in their new residence and reassemble furniture.
Alternatively, tenants can have their belongings delivered to Ward North American's warehouse located at 17275 Green Mountain Road, San Antonio, Texas 78247. The 100,000 square foot warehouse is fully enclosed on a gated property. In addition, the warehouse is equipped with security cameras and there is a security guard on the premises. If a tenant chooses to have their belongings delivered to Ward North American's warehouse, Wedgwood will pay to have those belongings stored at the warehouse for thirty (30) days. Residents who choose to have their belongings delivered to the warehouse are responsible for transporting their belongings from the warehouse to their new residence within thirty (30) days of the date the resident's belongings are delivered to the warehouse. A representative of Ward North American will notify residents as soon as their belongings arrive at the warehouse and each resident can arrange a date and time to pick up their belongings from the warehouse.
Please be advised that Ward North American cannot transport flammable, perishable or combustible items, weapons, alcohol, plants, animals or biohazardous material.
All inquiries regarding the move out process should be directed to Ward North American at 210-270-6516 or Wedgwoodrelo@wardnorthamerican.com.
Due to health and safety concerns, Wedgwood cannot allow residents in their apartments during the move-out. Each floor of the building will be undergoing remediation while the move out is ongoing. This means that the building will be a hazardous construction zone for the foreseeable future. We are sensitive to tenants' pleas for obtaining their belongings as quickly as possible, and the process can proceed more quickly without having to take precautions for tenants/bystanders. Because of the totality of these concerns, we kindly ask that you refrain from seeking access during this time.
Wedgwood understands the concerns of tenants who would like to have the packing monitored to ensure professionalism. If any residents represented by counsel wish to have their lawyer or another representative of their lawyer's firm present in their apartment while the moving company is packing their belongings, Wedgwood will allow one designated representative to be present. Further, Wedgwood will continue to have independent security officers on the premises to ensure this process is performed in a professional and secure manner.
To speed the move out process, we have committed exclusive use of the two elevators to the moving company until they have completed their work. If you have clients who insist on being present during the move out, please let us know and we will work on a protocol and dates for those tenants to move out their belongings once the elevators become available.
Move-outs will proceed on a floor by floor basis, beginning with the first floor and ending with the eleventh. Packing will begin 7 days from the date of this letter. The amount of time it will take to complete each floor's move out cannot be estimated at this time; therefore, a precise schedule cannot be formulated. Rather, each resident will be given a 5 day window of when their belongings will be delivered to their new residence or the moving company's warehouse and will be provided a call the night before delivery occurs. Counsel for represented tenants will be contacted about delivery and pickup scheduling. To expedite the move out process and ensure that representatives of the moving company can effectively communicate with tenants, we ask that tenants not represented by counsel contact Ward North American at 210-270-6516 or Wedgwoodrelo@wardnorthamerican.com upon receipt of this notice to provide appropriate contact information.
Please feel free to contact Ward North American with any questions regarding this matter.
We wanted to be sure and update you as you transition to your new homes after the tragic fire occurred two months ago.
As of now, the vast majority of residents have been able to return to pick up essential items.
We are all looking forward to the time when larger items can be picked up as well. The legal process, a process we do not control, is still ongoing. Once we are given the go ahead to complete the clean up and stabilization of the building, residents may return to retrieve the balance of their belongings. The clean up process will take us two to three weeks to make the building safe and suitable for this final move-out.
Please know that we are standing by -- and that the moment we can get to work on this project, we are set to do so.
Thank you again, for your patience, and your fortitude in getting resettled with the help of a remarkable community.
As always, any questions should be directed to 210-344-0261 or the Wedgwood Hotline at 877-304-5668.
When we learn more about timing for this next move-out phase, we will be in touch.
We know that each of you have been looking forward to the opportunity to collect some essential belongings. As you know, we have arranged for each resident to each have one hour to return to their apartment for this purpose.
As we have suggested, prior to your one-hour appointment, please give some thought as to the essential documents and belongings you wish to collect. Because of the fire, there has been smoke infiltration throughout the building including smoke damage. Therefore, if you have a respiratory illnesses or predispositions, if smoke may be an irritant to you, or if you have other cause for concern with respect to your health, please consult with your physician. We will also have protective masks and gloves available for you. Residents may use these at their discretion.
Also, while asbestos was found in the building – buildings constructed during this time used asbestos – the areas you will be in have been deemed non-hazardous based on analytical testing.
We again thank local fire personnel and police officers, who will be stationed throughout the building. We have also made arrangements for ambulances to stand by should there be a medical emergency.
In order to maintain your privacy and to protect your property, all of your units were closed and locked following the fire.
As the fire investigation is ongoing, you may not touch, alter, disturb, or test the smoke alarms or electrical conduits.
We are working to help make your visit to your apartment efficient and useful. You will no doubt find issues with what has been left in refrigerators since the fire – please concentrate on quickly retrieving your most important items.
Thank you again for your cooperation and for your patience in making this part of the recovery go as smoothly as possible.
Update - Jan 23, 2015
Dear Wedgwood Residents:
We again thank you for your patience and cooperation as we continue to work though the aftermath of this tragic event.
As promised, we are now ready to coordinate the retrieval of your emergency belongings only. We are asking each resident to sign up for emergency retrieval date. The first schedule date will be for emergency items only. The 2nd will be FOR the permanent move out of the Wedgwood Community. [WE WILL PROVIDE THE DATES FOR THE PERMANENT MOVE WITHIN A FEW WEEKS.]
We will be conducting the retrieval of “EMERGENCY ITEMS ONLY” on the listed dates below:
Floor 11 will be scheduled at a later date.
Floor 3 sustained substantial damage; we will be setting individual meetings with each resident of floor 3 in the coming weeks.
A 30 minute orientation will take place in the lobby prior to being escorted up to the designated floor. You have the option to bring one person/HELPER with you for assistance with your emergency retrieval items. A brief handout will be given at each orientation to discuss details for this procedure. Local police and firemen will be onsite directing all aspects of this process to ensure a safe and orderly process.
Emergency items must fit in one 66 quart plastic tote per apartment. We will provide these totes for you.
Here are examples of items that you may wish to put on your list.
Proof of identification will be required. We will allow for one hour inside of your apartment home. You may want to create a list of items you want to obtain on this initial visit prior to coming.
If you are sending a friend, family member, or representative in your place, that person will need valid identification and a valid power of attorney. No representative will be allowed entry without either being accompanied by a resident whose name is on the lease or these documents. No exceptions.
We are very appreciative of your support during this difficult time. We also appreciate the continued support of all those in the City and community who are stepping up to be of help. Because this process will be emotional and stressful, we will not be able to accommodate the press, attorneys, or members of the general public during this process. To be respectful to all residents and to create an orderly process, they will be asked to wait off premises.
Again, we thank you for working with us, and for your patience during this time.
UPDATE - JAN 13, 2015
We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we all work through the aftermath of the tragic fire.
We also thank BCFS, Meals on Wheels and the Red Cross--along with the Mayor and City agencies for their continued support.
You do not owe anything for your hotel stays. We are covering that cost and will do so through January 20th. Meals on Wheels services will continue service through January 20th. Please make arrangements to either move from the hotel beginning January 20th or arrange with the hotel to extend your stay at your cost.
As you know, you do not owe January rent. And we have your security deposits ready to return to you. Our staff will be distributing the security deposit checks this Wednesday and Thursday from 9-11am and 1-3pm in each hotel. For those residents already settled in new homes, we will contact you to get you the security deposit.
In terms of retrieving belongings, here is the current plan: the Wedgwood building is not habitable as you know. A number of inspections, including investigations, are ongoing. These must be completed before we are allowed to have residents back in the building to retrieve essential belongings.
We hope -- and this is not a firm date -- that residents can briefly enter the building beginning in two weeks. We will set up a schedule with time slots and help you choose a time that is good for you. We will also accompany each resident and work with them as they select essential belongings -- we will carry the essential belongings for each resident.
As soon as we have firm information about when we can begin scheduling these brief trips to the building, we will let all residents know. Please be thinking about which essential belongings you will select. Given the condition of the building, it will be many weeks before all belongings can be retrieved.
Again, we thank all of you for working with us, and for your forbearance and patience during this time. As always, questions can be directed to 210-344-0261 or the Wedgwood Hotline at 877-304-5668.
UPDATE - JAN 8, 2015
Dear Wedgwood Residents:
We are writing to thank you for your patience and understanding over these last days. As you know, we were all waiting for the results of inspections in order to know the next steps.
The inspections are now complete. We have determined, along with independent experts, that the property will not be habitable for the foreseeable future.
While we had hoped for better news, it is now apparent that each resident should now find new housing.
As you know, you do not owe rent for Wedgwood for the month of January, nor will you be charged for the hotel stay. As soon as you are settled, let us know your address and we will send you your security deposit.
We understand that each of our residents is eager to retrieve belongings. We do not yet have clearance to enter the building for this purpose - we are working closely with all parties and will keep you informed.
As always, please call Wedgwood Offices at 210-344-0261 or the Wedgwood Hotline at 877-304-5668 with special requests or questions.
We are happy to discuss with you ways in which we can make this transition as seamless as possible.
We appreciate your patience, your cooperating and your understanding. We remember those who were lost in this tragic fire and also thank the City and all those who have stepped forward to assist as at this time.
Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you, those who have lost a family member in the tragic fire and to all who are displaced.
We appreciate the valiant efforts of the first responders, the Mayor, the City and all the organizations including churches who have stepped up to help us all. As always, please continue to call the Wedgwood Offices at 210-344-0261 or the Wedgwood Hotline at 877-304-5668 to assist you as best we can.
As we discussed today, in cooperation with the City, there are several more inspections within the building that must be done before we can determine the future of the building. We hope that these tests and checks will be completed within a week's time. When we know the results of these tests, we will be in touch.
We also appreciate the work of our local hotels who are housing so many of our tenants. We will do our best to keep you informed and to work with all available resources to assist you.
Wedgwood is a community within a greater community and we will be in touch with more information just as soon as possible.
We thank each of your for your cooperation, for your patience and for your courage at this time.
We are working toward a resolution for the Wedgwood community. Our staff members along with local organizations will continue to be at your hotels to assist. many of you have expressed your thanks to our staff for their efforts, which we appreciate. Please continue to let us know how we can help as we all work together in the aftermath of this tragic fire.