Freeport hotel condemned, leaves residents stranded

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Updated: January 11, 2017

FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) -- Dozens are left stranded after a hotel in Freeport was forced to shut its doors.

"To be honest with you, I'm gonna be on the streets."

Seven days' notice is all Bernice Baker and seventeen families like hers were given to evacuate all of their belongings from the Grand Victoria Hotel in Freeport.

"What are you supposed to do? If you live in your car with your kids, DCFS will be called. It's unhealthy, it's not right. But yet, you push us out of the only place we have left," says Grand Victoria Hotel resident Jasmine Wright.

The City inspected the long term stay business on January 3, saying they had multiple code violations.

"They haven't had hot water since December 19, we found out. So they were heating water on pots and pans in the kitchen and taking it to rooms so people could bathe," said Freeport Community Development Department Director Alexander Mills.

The hotel manager who took over just five months ago says the City didn't give them a chance to improve, telling them they had to be completely out by 1:00 Wednesday afternoon.

"We literally just figured it out, we did two rooms, finished them. I'm not even sure if the city even stepped into those rooms and saw them," says Grand Victoria Hotel manager Kevin Kaplan.

The Community Development Department says every situation is different with a condemnation notice and the Grand Victoria Hotel just had too many violations to be able to be a safe place for anyone.

"It's simply a matter of time before someone gets hurt and we don't want that in Freeport," says Mills.

Mills says the residents have been notified of social service agencies they can go to but some say it isn't enough.

The City says they plan to discuss with the owner what they will do with the building, but they don't know yet what its future will be.

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Posted: January 10, 2017

FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) -- The days are numbered for the Grand Victoria Hotel in Freeport as the city plans to condemn the building on Wednesday. Families living at the hotel who say with such short notice they might be left on the streets.

Among several health and safety violations at the hotel the city of Freeport says advertising with the words "own your hotel room" was a red flag that sparked concerns as it violates several city ordinances and state laws.

After inspecting the Grand Victoria Hotel last week the city says building and fire code inspectors found violations including no hot water since December 19th, roof leaks and interior and exterior doors locked and boarded as well as several others violations.

Guests who have been staying at the hotel for several weeks, some even months, say they are now scrambling after receiving a notice last Thursday giving them a week to find additional living arrangements.

"I don't know what I'm going to do. I have to move all my stuff into a vehicle and then move my vehicle off the property. Now I have to figure out where I'm going to place my car and how I am going to drive my car with all my stuff in it. How am I going to transport my kids," says Grand Victoria Hotel guest Jasmine Wright.

The city says the hotel will be condemned Wednesday at 1:00PM. At that point all guests will need to vacate the premises.

This isn't the first time the Grand Victoria Hotel has experienced building and code violations. The hotel was also condemned back in 2011.