Whitehall took the final step last week toward its acquisition of the Commons at Royal Landing, the 270-unit, 17-acre apartment complex at the southwest corner of East Broad Street and South Hamilton Road.

Whitehall took the final step last week toward its acquisition of the Commons at Royal Landing, the 270-unit, 17-acre apartment complex at the southwest corner of East Broad Street and South Hamilton Road.

Mayor Kim Maggard signed a contract April 25 for the city to purchase the site.

Whitehall is in contract to purchase the property for $4.68 million and will use revenue from the city's East Broad Street tax-increment financing district for the purchase, said Gail Martineau, the city's community affairs coordinator.

The city is expected to close on the property in mid-July.

However, tenants are expected to remain at the 42-building complex until March 1, 2017.

Martineau said the last of the existing leases at the apartment complex extend though February.

The owner of the apartment may sign new leases, but none extending later than Dec. 31, 2016, Martineau said.

"We expect to see a significant dropoff in occupancy" after the end of July, when the city assumes ownership, she said.

Last month, several residents at the site said they were looking for new a place to live, while others were not aware of the city's purchase of the apartment buildings.

Whitehall will contract with a property-management firm as closing nears and will assist residents with finding alternate housing, Martineau said.

The $4.68 million purchase includes a settlement agreement in which Whitehall will drop four pending complaints in the Environmental Division of Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

According to city records, Whitehall's chief building inspector issued four separate warnings for code violations at the site Feb. 28, 2014.

Those violations were related to the lack of heat in four units, said attorney Joe Durham, who represented Whitehall.

The Commons at Royal Landing appealed the violations to Whitehall's Board of Zoning and Building Appeals, and after the violations were upheld, to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court on July 2, 2014.

Those complaints will be dismissed as part of the purchase and settlement agreement, Martineau said.

As part of the purchase, Whitehall also was required to make a $350,000 payment to assume the contract from another would-be purchaser, raising the city's total to acquire the Commons at Royal Landing to $5 million.

Legislation authorizing the purchase was introduced March 1 at Whitehall City Council and approved April 5.

Martineau said the apartment complex recently has been a consistent source of problems for the city and a "heavy user" of its police department.

Whitehall police responded to about 370 calls for service in a recent six-month period, Martineau said.

On Nov. 16, 2015, a 28-year-old Youngstown man was shot and killed on Eastway Court; on Feb. 27, 2014, a toddler was killed at an Eastway Court apartment after he climbed onto a stove reportedly being used to heat the apartment and it fell on him.

The city plans to demolish the Word War II-era apartment complex, Maggard said.

No redevelopment plans for the site have been identified, said Development Director Zach Woodruff.