Two N. Walnut apartment buildings were condemned last week.

In August, Split Rail Tavern management brought to light a pest problem in a West Chester apartment building. The problem came to a head when apartment management removed some carpeting and the cockroaches that were infesting it ran into their restaurant next door. Unable to keep them out, Split Rail sought help from the Chester County Health Department. Unfortunately for them, the Chester County Health Department oversees restaurants, not housing – for that, they should have gone to the Borough of West Chester. The result? The restaurant was closed while the fully rented apartment continued to operate. 

As part of the conditions of reopening, SRT got their neighbor to agree to regular pest treatments paid for by the restaurant. That is until Split Rail closed their doors for good. Then on Oct. 20, the neighboring apartment buildings were condemned by the Borough of West Chester and residents were given 24 hours to vacate the property. 

“These premises known as 11 and 13 N. Walnut St are declared to be condemned,” a sign on the door reads. “This structure, when vacated must remain vacant until the provisions of the order are complied with and the order to evacuate withdrawn.”

The posted order provides no details as to why the buildings were condemned outside of saying they violated West Chester Code, Chapter 66, “Housing and Property Maintenance.” However, in search of a resolution the Split Rail Team did a pretty good job of documenting the problem including taking pictures of cockroach-infested residences. On Tuesday morning, a Green Pest Management truck was spotted parked behind the building.

For the record, both 11 and 13 N. Walnut are owned by YJK Property, LLC. I couldn’t find out much more about the owners outside of the fact they bought the properties at the end of 2011 and they don’t appear to own any other building in the Borough – at least not under this company name. 

The Parisian Dry Cleaners, which operates from the retail space on the ground floor of 13 N. Walnut, remains open. 

Originally published, Oct. 27, 2023

This story is part of a longer weekly West Chester newsletter. Curious what else is going on? You can find the full issue here and the latest newsletter here. Even easier? Subscribe here to get future issues delivered directly to your inbox.

Leave a Reply