Texas Retaining Wall Collapse: Builder to Resell San Antonio Homes

April 7, 2010

A builder has offered to buy back, repair and resell 27 homes in the San Antonio, Texas, Rivermist neighborhood after a nearby retaining wall failed and sliding soil put the houses in danger.

About two-thirds of the 90 homeowners who were forced to evacuate their properties after the unsteady soil problem surfaced in late January have taken up Centex Homes’ offer, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Repairs to the retaining wall will take four to six months, after which Centex will make any needed home repairs, work with the city to reinstate certificates of occupancy, then find new owners.

“It’s our expectation that we will at some point resell these homes and put them back on the market,” said Centex spokeswoman Valerie Dolenga. “At some point they will probably go up for sale.”

Some of the affected Rivermist homeowners want to stay in their homes, and negotiations continue with the other third of the group who received buyback offers, she said.

Sherwin Tolentino, one of the 27 evacuated homeowners who has yet to take up the offer, said he is unhappy that the offer does not include damages.

The offer covers the purchase price, closing costs, moving expenses, home improvements, utilities for the last few months and some legal fees.

“They’re pressuring me to sign their proposal or they’re going to kick me out,” Tolentino said. “It’s just tough for me to swallow. I need to start my life all over again.”

Roderick Sanchez, head of the city’s department of Planning and Development Services, says for now no residents can return to the homes.

“We just can’t attest to their safety. As far as the city is concerned, the certificate of occupancy is suspected,” said Sanchez.

Many of the evacuated homeowners have been living in hotels, apartments and rental homes with limited access to their property.

Information from: San Antonio Express-News

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