MEMPHIS, Tenn.– A five-hour hearing in federal court downtown Wednesday ended with no decision on the City’s motion for a temporary restraining order against Peppertree Apartments and its owners TESCO Properties, Inc.

At the heart of the matter is crime and safety at the 306-unit complex.

“As our focus has been since day one and the reason we filed this nuisance petition is because of the residents that live there and the community around Peppertree and we just want to do everything we can using the law to keep people as safe as we can,” said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.

In Judge John Fowlkes, Jr’s courtroom most of the testimony centered on safety after two walkways collapsed within days of each other and a fire that destroyed the leasing office.

After Judge Fowlkes expressed his concerns last week, he may close the complex if positive changes aren’t made. The City announced it was ready to move with a plan to relocate tenants.

“We have been actively working on a plan to relocate hundreds of people potentially because we know that’s extremely important and we feel a sense of responsibility to make sure those tenants have a place to go that’s safe and affordable,” said Jennifer Sink, City of Memphis Chief Legal Officer.

TESCO Properties President Larry Sisson said improvements in lighting, security, and overall appearance have been made and elevated walkways have been shored up as a temporary measure to prevent another collapse. He said a more permanent fix will be coming.

There are also pictures showing a temporary leasing office has been set up in a vacant apartment.

Temporary leasing office at Peppertree Apartments

“The things that have been done on-site from security issues, security perspective, structural repairs…things that will help deter crime. I’ve always said this since the very beginning you can always do more and what’s what I think my clients have shown,” said attorney Alexander Wharton.

But with Peppertree also tied up in Environmental Court, the legal wrangling has gotten more complicated.

“What the City has done is we have amended our petition that is in Federal Court to expand the scope of the claims we are making to more general Public Nuisance claim,” Sink said.

A decision is expected before the end of the week.