Dallas apartment complex permanently closed after crane collapse, residents to be relocated

The Dallas midrise apartment complex damaged after storms knocked a crane onto part of the building will be permanently closed.

The management company of the Elan City Lights complex announced late Monday that the entire complex is uninhabitable and the 534 people who live in the building will have to move.

“Unfortunately, the building has become totally unusable for residential purposes and you will not be able to reoccupy your apartment,” Greystar Management Company said in a letter to residents.

One person was killed and five others injured when a construction crane at a property next door was toppled in high winds during Sunday’s severe storms. Cell phone video shot by residents showed how the crane tore through part of the parking garage and multiple occupied units.

Greystar said it will assist residents in finding new places to live, whether it’s at other properties it owns nearby in Dallas or another operator’s apartment complex. If residents choose another Greystar property, they will have all fees typically involved in a new move-in waived. People who choose to live at a non-Greystar complex can use an apartment locator service provided by the company.

The company said it will continue to offer a $100 per diem for residents through Friday and its extended its reservations block at local hotels through Friday night. Every resident’s June rent will be refunded along with all security deposits and an additional $500 dollars in each refund check.

Residents were allowed a few minutes on Monday to quickly enter their complex to grab important belongings.

“Yesterday, we got to go in for like five minutes. So it was kind of rushed and it was dark,” said resident David Mendoza. “So I just grabbed a bunch of things. And immediately as I got outside, I forgot some crucial documents and some things that I need to have.”

Monday night, an email from building management informed them the complex has been deemed “unusable for residential purposes” and caused some panic. Then late Tuesday morning, a follow-up email told them they would be allowed one more walk-in on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Mendoza and others raced back once again. They grabbed all they could and then some.

Despite the hard stop time of 12:30 p.m., the escorts by officers and firefighters continued for as long as it took.

“A lot of people stood here for hours,” said Dallas Police Deputy Chief Thomas Castro. “And that’s the least we could do is support them.”

Police say despite the unimaginable turn of events, calm and patience have prevailed.

“I understand that there’s no how-to manual on how to handle this,” Mendoza said. “So we are all being patient and we all understand that it’s going to take time.”

It’s still not known how residents will be able to access their vehicles, many of which are still in the City Lights garage. People were given five minutes on Monday day to go back inside their unit and take some of their belongings.

Investigators are still looking into the official cause of Sunday’s crane collapse and if there was any negligence involved. The mangled crane will likely be removed from this site over the next week, but no firm start date on the removal has been announced. 

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