A Franklin County judge has agreed to allow the receiver of Woodcliff Condominiums a reasonable amount of time to seek a "reserve study" to determine the economic feasibility of refurbishing the property.

A Franklin County judge has agreed to allow the receiver of Woodcliff Condominiums a reasonable amount of time to seek a "reserve study" to determine the economic feasibility of refurbishing the property.

Visiting Franklin County Municipal Judge Teresa Liston approved the measure during a status conference July 25 with the receiver of Woodcliff Condominiums and city attorney Mike Shannon.

Also present were several owners of some of the 317 condominium units at Woodcliff.

The conference was the latest step in a process that began in 2008, when the municipal court first declared, upon Whitehall filing a complaint in the court's environmental division, that the 317-unit residential complex at the northeast corner of East Broad Street and North Hamilton Road was a public nuisance.

Since then, Woodcliff Condominiums has been placed in the hands of several receivers while the city has sought demolition of the condominiums, yet the city has agreed to court-ordered terms that allow the receiver and owners of the condominiums a means to remedy safety- and health-code violations.

"We anxiously are waiting on the results of the study," said Shannon, who represented the city at the July 25 conference.

Shannon described the reserve study as "an accounting of all the things (the receiver) must do to bring the property (up to code)," Shannon said.

Shannon said Woodcliff Condominiums is 51 percent occupied, and the condominium association dues for maintenance, services and repairs are $60 a month. About half of the existing tenants are current on dues payments, according to reports at the status conference, Shannon said.

According to estimates, about $20,000 a year is needed for the maintenance of the condominiums.

"The results of the reserve study will go a long way to determining the economic viability of Woodcliff," Shannon said, as well as determining an adjusted monthly association fee.

Steve Close, president of the Woodcliff Condominium Association, attended the conference and opposes the reserve study, which is applicable to the approximately 35 units that remain in receivership.

"The study doesn't take into account offers that have been made to purchase the property," Close said.

Close said after the conference that two buyers have offered a total of $500,000 to purchase the 35 units that have remained inhabitable since the municipal court ordered the original owner to sell the property.

Close said he also disputes the 51-percent occupancy rate, as reported by the receiver. He estimates the occupancy, when considering all 317 units, to be about 70 percent.

However, a majority of the unoccupied structures have been purchased and are being renovated, he said. Only the 35 units that remain in receivership have been left untouched, and offers have been made for their purchase, Close said.

"It's confusing to me why we're going in this direction," he said. "Whitehall wants to use the nuisance laws to acquire this land for a gateway," referring to the location of the property at a major intersection in the city.

Close said the city should pay fair market value for the property rather than act to have it declared a nuisance so as to purchase it for less money. A land bank has offered to buy the same property the city has interest in for less than half the cost, Close said.

"I get 20 calls a day to rent units as they become available," he said.

Ninety-five of the 100 rentable units Close owns are occupied, and another 17 are being refurbished, he said.

Liston did not set a court date or issue a deadline for the completion of the reserve study but indicated it is desired sooner rather than later, Shannon said. The results are expected within 45 days, he said.