Enough is enough: Trap house trouble in the French Fort Historic - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Enough is enough: Trap house trouble in the French Fort Historic District

(WMC Action News 5) (WMC Action News 5)

Residents in the French Fort Historic District say enough is enough. 

The vacant and dilapidated Quality Inn Hotel on Alston Avenue near the Metal Museum is the first thing you see from I-55 when you hit the Tennessee border. 

"They drink, it has become a lover's lane, and in many instances, a hot sheet, outdoor joint," said Memphis resident Sara Lewis.

The hotel has been vacant for 26 years, but residents said that people use the staircase to climb up and find crawl spaces to sneak inside the building.

Residents added that people are using drugs on the property, having sexual encounters and running customers away from nearby businesses. They say trees are growing on the roof of the building, people are dumping tires and other trash, and stagnant water is drawing mosquitoes. 

According to law enforcement officers, three crimes were reported on Alston in the last three months: a burglary, a robbery, and a simple assault.

A nearby Super 8 Motel owner, Hetal Bhakta, is at a loss.

"On a daily basis, we lose customers because they feel this is not a safe area," said Bhakta.

Tim Price of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association agrees.

"I will tell you in addition to being an eyesore, it's a security risk," Price added.

Property owner Lauren Cruz said no one contacted him about the problems.

"If you've got any complaints about that building, there's nobody in that community who shouldn't be able to pick up the phone and give me a call," said Cruz.

Cruz said his massive renovation proposal is on hold because uncertainty over the Tennessee Department of Transportation's I-55 project is scaring off investors.

"If the banks and the investors don't know where the roads are going to be, how in the hell are you going to borrow the money for it?" Cruz explained.

Cruz added that some residents have blocked progress with investors.

"If there's any way they have done good for that neighborhood, I'll stand on top of that building for a week naked."

To learn how to file a code violation complaint in Shelby County, click here.

To learn what future plans may be in store for the French Fort Historic District and the old Quality Inn, click here.

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