DeKalb wants to demolish Decatur-area complex plagued by crime, blight

Abandoned apartments in the Creekside Forest Apartment complex in Decatur, Georgia, on Monday, November 21, 2016. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

Credit: David Barnes

Credit: David Barnes

Abandoned apartments in the Creekside Forest Apartment complex in Decatur, Georgia, on Monday, November 21, 2016. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

DeKalb County is in the beginning stages of an attempt to take over Creekside Forest Apartment Homes, a blight complex off I-20.

“Our intent would be to — if in fact we’re allowed to — demolish this property,” said Luz Borrero, deputy DeKalb chief operating officer for development.

Borrero said the county hopes to use the in-Rem legal process, asking a court to allow officials to step in since the owner has apparently decided against fixing the complex. Cheskel Meisels faces an active bench warrant after failing to appear in court to answer to hundreds of code violations.

Borrero said she couldn't offer a timeline for when the in-Rem legal process will begin.

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The complex has been plagued by crime and squatters, with trash littering the grounds and buildings crumbling. Residents have said the owner abandoned the property, causing many to stop paying rent because they didn't know where the money was going.

News of the county's hopes to destroy the complex comes on the heels of a judge's order last week giving the owners of the notorious Brannon Hill condos outside Clarkston 60 days to take care of four burned-up buildings, or else the county can tear them down.

Officials have said the developments are a sign that DeKalb is serious about fighting blighted properties that breed trouble.

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