Some permitted to move belongings out of New Haven’s condemned Norton Towers

NEW HAVEN -- Last Thursday, Norton Tower's residents were told they had to vacate the structurally unsafe New Haven apartment building immediately. But, six days later, and with no structural shoring completed yet, some tenants were permitted back in to move everything out.

Structural engineers determined Norton Towers would be able to withstand the foot traffic and furniture removal of four families at a time, which is removing some of the load off the 100 year old structure.

"We had a lot of deterioration in the basement from structural members, including tubs falling through," said Jim Turcio, the city's Building Official. who had even greater concern.

"When you walk up on to the third and fourth floor and see a deflection of up to 6 inches you know that it was carrying from the bottom all the way up and that’s that’s not good," he added.

Before the current owner purchased the property in 2015, a structural engineer wrote an inspection report before the mortgage was approved.

"And, at that time, these deficiencies did not seem to be an issue in that report, which is something we are going to have to look at," said Mendy Katz, the Property Manager.

Katz says the structural troubles were first discovered at Norton Towers approximately three months ago.

"Instead of vacating just one tenant, we decided that the entire wall, on the entire side of that building, should probably be vacated to do the work properly and that opened up more problems and more problems and here we are," said Katz.

The city's Building Official,, in conjunction with the structural engineer hired by the building owner, thought it be best for everyone to be moved out immediately.

"Sagging in a lot of older buildings is very common, as long as shoring is set up in the basement," said Katz.

Shoring up the structure is the owner and city's goal once all of the tenants are moved out, which could take a couple of weeks.