Derelict condo-hotel in Sendai to be demolished

An almost-abandoned condo/hotel in Sendai City will be demolished and potentially redeveloped after sitting empty for 20 years.

According to the owners association, over 80% of the 100+ unit owners voted in favor of redevelopment at a general meeting held last autumn. In Japan, at least 80% of apartment owners must vote in favor in order for a condominium to be redeveloped. To simply demolish and sell the land, a 100% vote must be obtained unless certain conditions are met.

The condo-hotel opened in 1977 with 109 rooms. The first three floors were managed by the hotel owner and operator, with floors 4 ~ 7 designed as condo units. They were marketed in the 1970s as being the first luxury condo-hotel in the Tohoku region. Many of the original buyers purchased units to lease out to students of the nearby university, or to be used as second homes.

The hotel operator filed for bankruptcy in 1999, closing the hotel. The hotel floors were later sold at a foreclosure auction in 2002. In the years following, no maintenance had been carried out on the building’s electrical or plumbing. Squatters began moving into some of the abandoned hotel rooms.

There was no owners association until 2018 when several unit owners got together to create one with the goal of demolishing the dilapidated and potentially dangerous structure.

In 2016 Sendai carried out a survey of the city’s 1,400 condos. Of those, 13 had never established an owners association, while 79 were not collecting enough money to carry out adequate building repairs or maintenance. Condominium development in the city began in the 1970s. There are now over 300 condos over 30 years old that will be in need of careful maintenance and management in the coming years. A 5-story, 46-year old condo in Aoba ward was found to have serious roof damage several years ago but the owners association has made no attempt to repair it. Unkept buildings are not only an eyesore but pose a threat to neighbors and pedestrians.

Source: The Kahoku Shimpo, May 20, 2020.

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