Photos by Pooja Pasupula.
Update Three, Sept. 25: The opening of Haven49 has been delayed a fifth time to Oct. 6. Owner Jay Williams told residents in an email, “…we now believe it is potentially unlikely that we will receive our Certificate of Occupancy before Sept. 29.” However, a construction worker on the project who wishes to remain anonymous told Niner Times that the move-in date will be Oct. 13 at the earliest. The same worker attributed the delays to “shit management on behalf of Spire,” the construction company assigned to the project. According to the Victims of Haven49 Facebook page, Haven49 had already booked residents’ hotel rooms through Oct. 6 before the complex was delayed for a fifth time. The students currently living in Holiday Inn, Springhill Suites and Courtyard Marriott have to be relocated to different hotels due to an reserved rooms in anticipation of the NASCAR race this weekend.
Update Two, Sept. 18: Haven49 emailed residents on the evening of Sept. 18 to inform them that the move-in date will be postponed for a fourth time, now opening on Sept. 29. The email explained that Hurricane Florence delayed the construction crew after several workers returned home to be with their families and others were deployed by the County. The project still has 141 outstanding holds.
Update, Sept. 11: Haven49 updated their website by 9:20 a.m. on Sept. 11 to announce that the move-in is once again postponed, this time to Sept. 22. Residents were informed via email at 11:43 a.m. The email cited Hurricane Florence as a reason for the new delay.
Hundreds of students are forced to find alternative housing after apartment complex Haven49 once again delayed its opening, this time promising housing by Sept. 15. The first delay postponed the move-in date from August 15 to August 31.
Haven49 is a 887-bed/332-unit, mid-rise apartment complex intended to house UNC Charlotte students. It is owned and developed by Haven Campus Communities and is the newest off-campus housing addition to the University community. The fall launch of Haven49 was widely anticipated and was to provide residents with state of the art technology and facilities, including a fitness center, tanning room, resort-style pool and cabanas.
UNC Charlotte junior Maria Cruzat is one of the many affected by the delays.
“Due to construction patterns in Charlotte, I am not too surprised by the delays,” Cruzat told the Niner Times. “I understand that no parties favor this situation, but I would have liked for Haven49 to be more transparent about the status of the apartment.”
After the initial delay to August 31, students were given two options for compensation. They could put their August rent towards a hotel room with transportation provided to and from campus along with a $500 Visa gift card, or they could find alternative housing, receive a $1,000 stipend and push rent payment back to Sept. Rent is roughly $650. After the second delay to Sept. 15, those living in hotels can choose to receive $250 per week until move-in or apply their Sept. rent payment to October. Some of these students have been assigned to a hotel near Concord Mills without any provided transportation to campus. Those who continue to find other living accommodations will receive the $250 per week and have their rent payment pushed back to October.
For many, the help is not quite enough. Because residents do not have the access they anticipated to certain facilities, they are forced to eat out, pay for laundry service, and even find storage for their belongings.
One parent told WSOCTV, “I think it borders on criminal. I really do.”
Another student created a Facebook page called “Victims of Haven49.”
Many are confused by the inconspicuous cause of the construction delays. Peter Jakel, Public Relations Representative for Haven49, offered an explanation: “Construction projects are very complex and each stage affects the timing of the next stage, and in many cases you’re able to make up lost time in future stages. So it’s unfortunately impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of any delay.”
County records show that the building has 138 outstanding holds – the parking garage alone has seven –and several failed inspections. A hold is placed on a project until certain requirements are met and the project cannot pass its final inspection until these are fulfilled. The complex failed an inspection on August 16, a day after students were originally expected to move in. This inspection has yet to be passed. However, the building does have all of its necessary permits. Students will not be able to move in until a final inspection is passed and a certificate of occupancy is issued. According to county data, the construction has cost Haven49 $19,182,300 to date.
Mecklenburg County Officials stated via email, “the project is currently under active construction but still has multiple holds from county and city agencies before a certificate of occupancy can be issued.”
Haven49 owner Jay Williams stated “we certainly have not made this easy, and for that, I am sorry.”