MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For years now, the WREG Investigators have been telling you about the living conditions inside Serenity Towers, a subsidized high-rise for seniors on Highland in Memphis.
Residents there have complained about everything from an insect infestation to not having air conditioning.
“These people keep saying corporate is aware of it. They’re working on it, but we don’t ever see any progress,” said one Serenity resident who didn’t want their face shown on tv during a September interview when the air and elevators were out again.
One complaint that’s caught the attention of the Memphis Fire Department is the lack of working elevators at Serenity Towers.
“You can’t bring a wheelchair down 10 flights of stairs,” added the resident.
Records show firefighters called the broken elevators a “huge fire and health risk for tenants and fire responders” back in 2021.
That concern and subsequent code violation would send the owners to environmental court.
Nearly three years later, they’re still in Environmental Court dealing with the same problem
And the NewsChannel 3 Investigators have learned an unpaid bill is why the elevators have been out for months this year.
In August, County Code officials told WREG the owners were behind by some $80,000 to the elevator vendor, Otis Elevator Company.
An Otis spokesperson said it wouldn’t be appropriate to share details of a customer account, but said, “Due to payment delays, the maintenance service to Serenity Towers is currently suspended. Our team continues to work diligently to provide assistance in emergency situations and get elevators back in service as quickly as possible when needed.”
WREG also uncovered records showing an alarm system monitoring contract that was terminated, plus liens on the property from contractors who say Serenity’s owners owe them too.
While speaking with resident Henry Smith, Jr., WREG asked, “What needs to happen?”
“Millennium (sic), the upper management need to be held accountable for this,” exclaimed Smith.
At last check, county code administrators confirmed with WREG that three of the four elevators at Serenity Towers were working.
The owners/operators are supposed to have all four working by the time they return to court on October 10th.
WREG reached out to Millennia for comment. The company has yet to respond to our numerous interview requests or questions about the unpaid bills and how it plans to keep residents safe.