CONWAY — The future of Coastal Estates, the unfinished student housing project that’s deteriorating on U.S. 501 on the beach end of Conway, is uncertain.
Developer Al Shuman said earlier this week that he hadn’t yet been able to get financing to finish construction, and Conway building official Billy Sawyer said Friday the city won’t let the unfinished buildings stand there indefinitely.
Shuman was frustrated at people promising they would invest the money to restart the project and then not coming through with it.
“I’ve got some people who are interested in buying it from me,” he said.
Shuman said he expected to know something by the end of the week. He could not be reached Friday.
The apartments were started in early 2011 and construction halted just months later. Shuman said in an interview not long after work stopped that he expected funding to finish the buildings soon, but that apparently didn’t happen either.
“Every time I talk to them,” Sawyer said, “they say ‘anytime’.”
Sawyer said the development was planned to include 11 buildings, each with 12 units and 48 beds. Work has been started on eight of the buildings, and six have exterior walls and roofs, of a sort.
Sawyer said that the wood now on the outside of the buildings was not meant to be the finished exterior and that it can’t withstand the weather indefinitely. He said he believes the framing for the buildings to be in good shape, but the exterior wood on the walls and roofs is deteriorating.
The project last got a building permit in the first half of April last year. It expired in October and developers will have to get a new one before construction can resume.
Sawyer said he’ll need to see a report by a structural engineer detailing what parts of the buildings need replacing and what can remain before a permit will be issued.
If nothing happens, Sawyer said the city will order the buildings to be dismantled.
Sawyer said that Shuman has been very cooperative.
“He’s assured me he was going to start back up,” Sawyer said, “he’s got too much money in it (not to restart).”
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.