‘I’m at the point of tears’: Mechanical and structural issues continue at Greenville’s Jolly Roger student apartments
GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) – When the Jolly Roger student housing complex opened on August 10, 2021, there was great excitement.
In time for the ECU’s fall semester, the residents were looking forward to moving into the newly built apartment complex on the corner of Charles Boulevard and 14th Street. The seven-story 804-bedroom complex looks like a dream, with a rooftop pool, two-story gym, 55-inch TVs in every room, and more.
But when the residents moved in, they said it was anything but a dream. Within a few days there were complaints about floods, sewage, mold and unfinished rooms.
Since opening, 9OYS has received numerous calls and emails from upset parents and disappointed students expecting a cutting-edge experience. They tell us what they got, if anything, was the exact opposite.
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“On the day we moved in, we didn’t even have locks on our bedroom doors, nothing was finished,” said resident Bryanna Gennaro. “It was about another month before we got our bedroom door keys.”
Gennaro said that immediately after moving in, she noticed that sewage was streaking back into the toilet intestines and yellow-brownish water was coming out of the shower head. She said she could not shower or flush her toilet for a few days because it would fill up with sewage.
Photos: Bryanna Gennaro
“It felt like moving into a warehouse, the outside was finished but there was nothing inside. And it feels like I’m paying $ 800 a month in a place I can’t live, it’s a waste of my money. ”Gennaro currently lives elsewhere with a friend while she waits for you the problems are solved.
9OYS spoke to a resident we will call Garrett. He said he was from western North Carolina and was unable to physically tour the site prior to moving in.
“I just saw the 3D pictures online, everything looked great,” said Garrett. He said he was quite lucky compared to other residents’ problems and reported that he had very few problems.
That’s interesting what Garrett found.
“They had all kinds of blueprints about how big the problem was. They had pictures of the pipe itself in the building and shutting off a valve here, but it could make anything else splurge and shoot up, ”Garrett said. “And then I found completed mold assessment forms, a whole pile of them.”
It turned out that he had come across one of the alleged study rooms that had been converted into an office-like space to work there. The room was filled with blueprints, forms, maintenance requests, and other equipment.
At one point, Garrett said he stopped a construction worker outside to find out what was going on because he wasn’t getting any responses from management or the leasing office.
“I said ‘What do you see, do you have pictures, what can you tell me?’ And he says: “When we open the sinks and bathtubs, it’s unfinished, everything was just rushed. He says it’s like someone came and just did drywall. ‘”
Garrett also tells 9OYS that he stole his car in the complex’s parking deck only to go to management to discover that none of the cameras in the parking deck were working. He even sent 9OYS photos of elevators that were out of order and no apparent elevator inspection certificate in any of the elevators. He told 9OYS that he had even heard reports of other residents being stuck in the elevator for 30 minutes straight.
9OYS also received photos from the fifth floor where at least two fire extinguisher cabinets were empty.
9OYS spoke to two roommates who said it was a disaster when they entered their new apartment.
“The day I moved in when I walked into my room, my room was flooded,” Caitlyn said. “And then the next day I noticed that my floor was already building up and I was like, ‘Okay, I know that means there was water damage beforehand.'”
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Things didn’t get much better for her roommate, Nicole Chiara. She tells 9OYS that she was showering when she noticed the paint was starting to bubble on her bathroom wall. She said it took four days to send someone to look into the problem and all they did was burst the bubble.
“And it was like brown water in these bubbles, it smelled terrible. I thought to myself: ‘How is that okay?’ ”
It’s water damage that has resulted in mold in many homes, which many say makes residents sick. A couple of students tell 9OYS that from the moment they moved in, they were sick and had a sinus infection that wouldn’t go away.
Photos: Nicole Chiara
Roommates tell 9OYS that this was just the beginning of very long months. The women had to move out for a month and a half before their original apartment had the necessary repairs.
“They let us move into a handicapped accessible apartment, which I found kind of strange because if someone needed the apartment, it is not available,” says Chiara. When they finally moved in again, the tubs were unsealed, cabinets could not be closed because they had been placed incorrectly, outlet covers were missing, screws were missing and protruding from the cabinets.
“I went downstairs and said no, there is no way,” Caitlyn said. That started move number four.
“We moved to the fifth floor, brand new apartment, they said no one had ever lived in it. And then, two weeks ago, I was in the kitchen and the next thing I know is that water comes through one of the lights in the ceiling and it rains torrential, ”Caitlyn said.
Caitlyn said after speaking to a maintenance worker they discovered that there was a piece of loose in the sink in the apartment above them, causing all of the water to drain directly into their apartment while their upstairs neighbor did the dishes.
Keyword train number five. When they were pulling things out of their apartment a few days later, they recorded a video showing a wall that had been removed from their bathroom and led directly into the apartment next door.
Video: Nicole Chiara
They told 9OYS that the complex’s marketing team wasn’t happy.
“I was like, ‘What did you expect from me, I’m a college student who moves a lot while I should concentrate on my studies,” said Chiara
Caitlyn said a lot of people saw her video.
“I think that was probably the first thing people noticed … ‘Oh wait, there are some really serious things going on here,'” Caitlyn said.
The women said one of the main problems they experienced was workers entering people’s homes unannounced.
“Maintenance, IT, and construction workers knock on the door once or twice, but if you don’t answer, they just come in,” Caitlyn said. “My friend was literally in the shower and when she got out of the shower there was an IT person in her living room.”
It is something that other female residents are concerned about.
When they were finally able to move back in, Chiara said that her bathroom had random stains, metal was sticking out of the floor, and there was paint on the floor.
“One of the biggest problems is communication. There is no communication between management, construction and residents. In the end, I received an apology from one of the contractors, not the management or the leasing office. So that really says something if the people in the apartment complex don’t apologize for all of this happening, it’s the construction workers. “
Caitlyn, resident of Jolly Roger
Roommates say maintenance workers started work several times without the rental office knowing about it. Caitlyn said a few days after her fifth move she got a call from the leasing office asking if they had moved out so they could start repairs. “I said, ‘You’re a little late, they took the blanket out and put it back in,'” Caitlyn said.
Residents also told 9OYS that the 55-inch TVs that were promised in every apartment only hit the market last month. They also tell 9OYS that the internet goes down frequently.
Local residents told 9OYS they were upset with broken promises and the allegedly rude nature of the management staff.
“They don’t greet you when you walk in, it’s kind of like, they’re in the middle of a conversation and they’ll reach you when they’re done. It doesn’t feel like they care about me or that they care about the result of their work, ”says Bryanna Gennaro.
Jolly Roger residents who spoke to 9OYS said they just wished the builders had taken more time instead of rushing through the fall semester. Chiara says: “The building was simply built too quickly and carelessly.”
“I mean, I’m close to tears at this point because it was just so much,” Caitlyn said.
9OYS reached out to officials in the Coding Enforcement and Department of Inspections for the City of Greenville, who told us that the city is aware of the situation and is making the building work through its issues. Chief City Building Inspector William Mills signed a certificate of occupancy, or CO, for the building. Officials tell 9OYS that the building would not have received a certificate if it failed the inspection and did not meet city regulations.
Document provided by The City of Greenville
If you look at the certificate, it says that it is valid for 45 days. We asked the city about this and they say that temporary COs are common for commercial space and that the certificate is automatically renewed after 45 days, as long as work is actively carried out on work that has not yet been completed. The city also said they are continuing to inspect ongoing work at The Jolly Roger, and their final formal inspection was made sometime during the first week of November.
9OYS also reached out to CA Ventures, the company that manages The Jolly Roger. They gave us the following statement about the situation:
“With new build projects there are occasionally things that require extra attention. We are fully aware of our residents’ concerns and work carefully with our contractors to resolve any matter. We have a dedicated team of contractors who work systematically throughout the property to resolve any issues. Our residents are our top priority and our management team is on hand to help in all aspects of the renovation process. The Jolly Roger is and will remain an integral part of the ECU and Greenville community and we look forward to a great year. “
-CA Ventures Management Services
Residents at The Jolly Roger at this point say they really just want a refund. Many are still waiting for gift card incentives promised when they signed the apartment or for compensation for moving and damage, some in excess of $ 500. Local residents said the complex will offer free rental for the month of December when people sign on the building again.
None of the students we spoke to are planning on stepping down with The Jolly Roger.
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