Sept. 6, 2013: Watauga County Planning and Inspections Director Joe Furman said The Cottages of Boone development received certificates of occupancy for two more buildings representing four units and 20 bedrooms this week – as of 2 p.m. on Friday. This brings the current total to 66 buildings that represents 106 units and 504 bedrooms.
Furman added that three more buildings representing about 30 bedrooms will be inspected on Saturday.
Read below for a previous update with more details on the entire development.
Slowly But Surely: CO’s Received for 63 Buildings in The Cottages, Represents 479 of 894 Total Bedrooms
By Jesse Wood
Aug. 30, 2013. Watauga County Planning & Inspections Director Joe Furman said that seven more buildings in The Cottages of Boone development received certificates of occupancy on Thursday and Friday, which represent 14 more units and 70 bedrooms.
So far the Birmingham-based Capstone Collegiate Communities development, which has been delayed – at the least – because of the record-breaking rainfall this year, now has certificates of occupancy for 63 buildings that represent 101 units and 479 bedrooms, according to Furman.
When all is said and done, the student housing project, which will be the largest in Watauga County, will have 106 buildings, 202 units and 894 bedrooms.
Furman agreed that the development is moving along “slowly but surely.”
“That’s a good description,” Furman said. “But there’s still plenty of work to do. They are only a little over halfway there in terms of bedrooms if you look at the numbers.”
Rumors of decks falling off and black mold and other grievances regarding the insides and structures of the buildings have circulated on The Cottages of Boone Facebook page, but Furman assures that the buildings that have passed inspection meet the minimum requirements of the building code.
“I can say if a deck is falling off, it wouldn’t receive a [certificate of occupancy],” Furman said, adding that while black mold isn’t apart of the building code, his staff hasn’t been aware of any black mold.
“But The Cottages will respond to that sort of complaint immediately, if they directly contact them,” Furman said.
On Aug. 18, nearly 250 students moved into the development, and tenants and parents noted how “impressive” the place looked, particularly the clubhouse and adjacent pool area.
But just recently the clubhouse closed down, but Watauga County Fire Marshal Steve Sudderth said the closing wasn’t a major issue.
“No sir,” Sudderth said.
He noted that his office allowed the clubhouse to open temporarily while a temporary water sprinkler supply system was in place. He said that clubhouse closed down in order for the “permanent parts” to be assembled and property installed.
“From a fire code standpoint, they’ve been exceptionally good to work with and met all requirements of code. They are doing a good job of separating ongoing construction from occupied sections. They’ve got road-width clearances in and fire protection water up there,” Sudderth said. “So those are the three main things we look at from a fire code standpoint. It’s all working really well.”
The project was initially slated to be completely finished during the middle of August in time for the fall semester, but that didn’t happen and tenants have had to stay in hotels – and even switch hotels because all of the hotels in town were booked during busy weekends in the High Country.
Now, contractors are faced with trying to finish before winter arrives and construction ceases.
A spokesman for The Cottages has not returned phone calls during the past few weeks, and a call to John Vawter Sr., principal of Capstone, was not immediately returned on Friday.
But Vawter did speak with the Winston-Salem Journal last week. In an interview with the paper, he sympathized with the students who had been displaced.
“We have been working on this project for over a year and half and nobody is more disappointed that we didn’t deliver than we are,” Vawter said.
In the article dated Aug. 20: “Vawter said he expects the majority of the students in hotels will be moved into The Cottages over the next week and a half, but that a group of students in one building may not have housing for another 60 to 90 days.”