Home Construction Firm Pulte Homes Corrects Damage
Home construction firm Pulte Homes, the biggest home builder in the country, has been trying to perform its obligations to homeowners affected by the collapse in January of the retaining wall of its housing development called Rivermist in San Antonio, Texas.
The collapse of the wall caused crevices about 8 feet wide and about 15 feet deep in some portions. It also caused soil movement underneath several houses and it made 27 homes totally unsafe for homeowners.
After the collapse, about 90 families were evacuated and moved to hotels and other residential properties. Most homeowners returned to their homes later, except for the owners of the 27 severely damaged homes.
Last week, Pulte Homes offered to buy back the 27 damaged homes from the owners. It also offered to pay moving expenses, home improvements and legal fees. Centex, the division of Pulte Homes that developed Rivermist, also said that homeowners who opt to keep their houses will be provided with temporary housing while the retaining wall is built, completed and certified.
Pulte Homes said that it will take about six months to build a new retaining wall and will cost about $4 million to $5 million. City officials of San Antonio said that no permit was issued for the building of the retaining wall, but Pulte Homes insisted that all necessary permits were obtained and all city requirements were followed before home construction, retaining wall construction and all housing development activities.
Homes at Rivermist were sold at an average of $200,000, with units adjacent to the retaining wall priced higher because of their city views and their bigger sizes.
Some residents are complaining that the collapse of the wall has cut down home values. Homeowner Dell Hammett said that owners are angry because they put all their life’s savings into properties that lost value quickly.
In response, Pulte spokesperson Valerie Dolenga said that the housing development has been holding up in value, as evidenced by the recent sale of six homes after the collapse at the original listing prices. In addition, two of the properties affected directly by the wall collapse just got sold.
Last week, Pulte Homes Inc. was lauded by Fortune magazine as among the most admired firms in the world. Two of its home building companies, Centex and Pulte Homes, were among the top 5 firms in the home construction category. Pulte was second in the ranking while Centex, which was acquired by Pulte last year, was ranked fifth.