Dozens of residents at downtown lofts come forward blaming management and the building’s condo association for lack of safety

After multiple incidents at Ely Walker Lofts, residents are coming forward and placing the blame on those in charge
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Ely Walker Lofts is one of the many condominium buildings that sits on downtown St. Louis’ main corridor, Washington Avenue. It’s also been the site of a murder, multiple car break-ins, and suspected illegal parties. Now, dozens of residents who have contacted News 4 want answers.

“Safety is my top concern,” Madelyn Munsell said.

“I just don’t feel like there’s a safe zone, and I don’t feel like management even cares,” Chandler Lantern added.

Munsell and Lantern both live at Ely Walker Lofts. The two of them and about a dozen more residents said a lack of safety is a growing sentiment inside the lofts.

“I wanna be safe where I live, where I pay rent, where I bring friends, where I bring family,” Michael Delorme said.

Delorme’s lived at Ely Walker for the last three years. He said things didn’t get bad until last summer when large parties started happening inside condos at Ely Walker that were short-term rentals. Those parties then poured out onto Washington Avenue. In March, a teen was shot and killed in the lobby. This past weekend, another large, reportedly illegal party, took over the building’s rooftop.

“As soon as I stepped in the door, it was like an apartment from hell,” Lantern said.

Lantern’s lived at Ely Walker since August 2021. He and several other residents said management has constantly neglected them and refuse to address safety concerns.

“The first six months we were here ,I think our point of contact switched five times,” Mike Sugars explained.

Sugars also lives at the lofts. He said he hasn’t even gotten a response from management when it comes to basic maintenance issues.

News 4 found Smith Management Group is the main property management company. We’re told they’re supposed to be on-site addressing day-to-day issues. Residents said that’s not happening.

“I know there are cameras in here. They go somewhere. Who’s able to just see when people come in? There’s gotta be some kind of directory or some way, paper trail, to track who’s getting in and out,” Sugars explained.

Smith Management, who wouldn’t comment on if they’re on-site or not, said they’ve “provided the board with options on 24-hour security firms to deploy on the property.”

Residents said the board, which acts as a homeowners association, has six members. We’re told none of them actually live inside Ely Walker Lofts. Those paying rent said things have to change.

“There are apartments on this street that charge less, that have a lot more security, not even security, just quality of life. People’s dogs aren’t pooping and peeing everywhere, there’s not random people everywhere,” Lantern said.

“I’ve lived in Boston, and I feel more unsafe at this facility than I have anywhere in my life,” Munsell said.

An attorney for the condo association said the board is working to improve building safety and looking at the possibility of on-site security. We asked the city’s police chief for an interview on this, but he was not available. We also reached out to the Mayor’s Office and Public Safety Director and did not hear back.