Waukesha condo collapse raze order appealed by unit owners

The Horizon West condo building Waukesha was evacuated in December over the threat of collapse, and one owner says it’s unlikely anyone will ever live in the building again. However, they got an attorney because they don’t want to have to pay to tear the building down.

They were given minutes to pack up and leave their homes on a cold, December night.  Now, the owners of Waukesha's Horizon West condos are faced with a new struggle – paying to tear it down.

"I don’t know who is responsible or who should be responsible.  It just – none of us wants it to be us," said Alicia Halvensleben. "We just can’t afford it."

Horizon West Condominium Homes in Waukesha

Halvensleben, a Waukesha City Council candidate, called the building home for six years.  Over the weekend, she says the displaced residents met for the first time since the immediate aftermath of the evacuation to hire a lawyer and appeal the raze order.

"We want the best possible outcome for everyone that has a stake in this," said Halvensleben. "With that in mind, it’s hard to say, ‘All right. Let’s just move on,’ because then we are on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars."

Husch Blackwell will represent them. There’s also a GoFundMe set up to help cover mortgages for homes no one can live in.

"On top of that, we also have condo dues, and yes, we do still have to continue paying our condo dues for things like shoveling snow, mowing grass," said Halvensleben.

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Horizon West Condominium Homes in Waukesha

A structural engineering report found the building was "at an imminent threat of collapse."  In a statement to FOX6 News Tuesday, Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said typically, when a raze order is issued, the property owners pay for it, but he acknowledged this situation is complex.

"The city will need to consider what the property owners and those with an interest in the property decide to do before the city can determine its position," said Halvensleben. "The final decision on what the city does will likely be made by the common council at some point in the future." 

Already, homeowners estimate they are out tens of thousands of dollars after asbestos removal and removal of the building's balconies which is what uncovered the issues in the first place. 

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