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Ask the Times: West Hall mansion being built, but the work is going slowly
The mansion that has been under construction at the intersection of Flat Creek and Stephens roads has stalled, but has not been abandoned. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get it answered. The following question was submitted by a reader and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

What’s the story on the mansion that’s been under construction for years at the corner of Flat Creek and Stephens roads in West Hall? All work stopped months ago. It’s a huge complex, and millions of dollars must be involved.

Lamar Carver with Hall County Building Inspections said the original building permit on the property at 5096 Stephens Road was taken out in January 2009. Work on the mansion has slowed or stopped at times since then, but Carver said the site is not abandoned.

“The job status right now is permits are expired,” Carver said. “They are not withdrawn but they have expired. If you don’t have an active inspection within the last six-month period, then you either have to pay the renewal fees and have them renewed or have an active inspection.”

The inspector handling the permits has not seen anybody on site in recent months, Carver said, though he noted the inspector is not at the property every day. The permits expired at the end of last year.

“I don’t know the exact reason why the gentleman is not proceeding at this time,” Carver said. “There are a lot of economic conditions out there these days that cause that to happen.”

He noted that for a house of this scale, it’s not uncommon for construction to take 12 to 24 months even when everything is going at a normal pace.

Carver said the home is about 75 percent complete.

“We have actively spoken with the code enforcement office again (last week) to make them aware of the fact that there are some expired permits there, and that they do need to be renewed and that the job site does need to be maintained,” Carver said.

According to Hall County property records, the home has a heated area of 9,985 square feet and belongs to Fernando Lara and Flor Ramos.

Fernando Lara is the owner of Lara’s Trucks, which operates dealerships on Buford Drive near the Mall of Georgia and on Shallowford Road in Chamblee. The company has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau.

A woman who answered the phone this week at Lara’s Trucks said Lara was out of the state this week and not available for comment.

A message left with a number for Flor Ramos was not returned this week.

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