Pulte Homes has offered to buy back 27 homes made unsafe after a neighborhood retention wall failed in a Centex community in San Antonio, the company reported Wednesday.
"These 27 homeowners have been directly affected by the slope failure due to their inability to occupy their homes as a result of the suspension of their certificate of occupancy," said Laurin Darnell, of Centex Homes, in an announcement made by Pulte, which merged with Centex last August. "This is the right thing to do for these homeowners who will be unable to occupy their homes for a lengthy time period while we construct the new retaining wall and restore the slope."
Centex has also offered to compensate the homeowners for moving costs, costs of home improvements they may have made, other incidental expenses, as well as attorney's fees to help review legal documents.
For homeowners who choose to keep their homes, Centex has agreed to provide them with housing or to reimburse them for alternative housing until the construction of a new wall is finished and their homes get certificates of occupancy again.
The buyback is one part of a four-part strategy to resolve the problem that started when a hillside in the Hills of Rivermist community began to collapse Jan. 24.
The company plans to build a new wall that will cost between $4 million and $5 million and will take about six months to build. Before the new wall can be built, the slope must be stabilized by drilling and installing a series of stabilizing piers across the entire area of slope failure while the damaged sections of walls are removed and replaced.
Centex has had an independent engineering firm inspect retention walls throughout its San Antonio neighborhoods that are taller than four feet and were built within the past three years.
Centex has also agreed to pay for independent engineers to inspect the other homes that were evacuated when the slope began its slide so the owners can be assured that they were not affected by the soil movement.
In the news release, Darnell said so far none of the engineers' reports have found any of the other homes to be impacted by the slide.