A Reynoldsburg apartment complex will remain closed until the buildings are repaired and brought up to code, according to an order issued Feb. 18 by Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Harland Hale.

A Reynoldsburg apartment complex will remain closed until the buildings are repaired and brought up to code, according to an order issued Feb. 18 by Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Harland Hale.

Reynoldsburg City Attorney Jed Hood and attorneys representing the owners, management company and the company that holds the mortgage on the White Birch Crescent apartments were in court Wednesday, a week after the collapse of a second-floor walkway prompted the city to condemn the complex and order all residents to leave.

Hood said the "agreed order" approved by Hale means the six buildings will not be occupied by anyone until they are brought back up to code and can receive an occupancy permit from the city.

"Basically, they have to replace or repair all of the walkways and stairways inside and out of all of the apartments," he said. "This lets the judge put in stone that no one is going to be in that property living there until we determine what the appropriate course of action is."

Towne Properties, the apartment's current management company, will have to conduct the repairs, then ask the city to inspect the work to see if it meets building codes, Hood said.

He said there is technically no deadline for the work to be completed, but added the apartments cannot be rented until they are brought back to code.

"So the faster they do that, the faster they can rent their apartments," he said.

Reynoldsburg building official Chet Hopper first issued an administrative order Feb. 11 to prohibit occupancy for a 15-unit building located at 6895 Greenleaf Drive after a second-floor walkway collapsed.

Hopper and city officials then condemned five additional buildings the next day, giving the tenants who were occupying 95 of the 181 units until Feb. 15 to move out.

Present at the Feb. 18 court hearing were representatives of Towne Properties; the complex owners, Six Ventures; and the company that holds the mortgage on the apartments, 111 Debt Acquisitions Holdings Corp.

"We have this agreement in place for now and we've asked for another hearing on March 4 to figure out what we are going to do from there," Hood said. "Hopefully, they'll have a plan together where they can bring to us a plan of action on how to get the property back into shape or how they're going to secure the property, or whether they're going to take care of the property some other way."

The March 4 hearing is set for 3 p.m. in courtroom 15 C in the Franklin County Courthouse at 373 S. High St. in downtown Columbus.

"Before that date, I think we will file a motion trying to enforce whatever rights we have in regard to the property, but I am not able to talk about them just yet," Hood said.

dowen@thisweeknews.com