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Taxes paid on Heritage House; city to take owners to court

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The owners of the crumbling Heritage House property on West Oglethorpe Boulevard avoided having the property auctioned off Tuesday and paid the $14,000 in taxes owed on the former hotel.

The move prevents the city or other possible developers from acquiring the property on the cheap, but city officials say they now will follow through with the abatement action on the property and try to get a court order to demolish the property.

"We intend to continue with the abatement process," Code Enforcement Director Mike Tilson told Albany City Commissioners Tuesday.

That process will force the city, if it gets a court order, to undertake the costly demolition of the property without actually acquiring the property.

Instead, the city will put a lien on the property for the cost of demolishing the former hotel, which would have to be paid before the current owners could sell it or rebuild.

City Attorney Nathan Davis said after Tuesday's Commission meeting that a court date hasn't been set.

While owner Greenbriar Holdings LLC may have settled up with County Tax Director Denver Hooten, Tilson told commissioners there had been "no significant action" on the part of the company to do anything with the property.

Meanwhile, the city continues its war on vacant and dilapidated housing.

In July, Albany Public Works demolished two buildings and has 18 more lined up on the demo list, Tilson said.