2016 has been a tough year for people that live in ocean-near luxury high rise condos. The Millennium Tower in San Francisco, California, which is home to many of the city’s rich and famous residents, has found itself in the middle of several lawsuits after it was determined to have sunk around 16 inches since its opening in 2008. Now, it appears that it’s not the only luxury tower in America with foundation issues.
Plaza Harbour Island is a 20-story, 144-unit luxury condo tower in Tampa Bay, Florida. After originally opening its doors to residents in 2007, the residents have allegedly dealt with a variety of issues at the property and have since filed a lawsuit. The Tampa Bay Times (referred to as “The Times” going forward) reported that the geotechnical report found very soft and unstable soils were beneath the property, much like the San Francisco Tower. It’s unclear, at this point, what type of foundations were used to support the structure, but, according to the Times, visible exterior cracking is a sign of “significant subsidence concerns and structural design deficiencies.''
photo above shows the Plaza Harbour Island, via Instagram
Two years ago, in November of 2014, the Times explains, foundation repairs were made to the townhouse area of the property. After the repair work was completed, a Tampa Bay law firm alerted several companies of “certain design and construction defects.” Property values have reportedly plummeted since the issues were found, because owners are now required to disclose the conditions to potential buyers. In a tower that contains units that were sold for more than $2 million, it’s understandable that a lawsuit was filed.
Unit owners in Florida generally have a 3-year window after completion of construction in which to bring claims relating to the fitness of work performed by contractors and subcontractors on a project. This same warranty from the developer runs for 3 years after completion of the building or 1 year after control of the association has been transferred to the unit owners, whichever occurs last. But this period cannot exceed 5 years. The construction experts at TheLienZone lay all this out in their article, Who’s at Fault, showing that unit owners also have the possibility of raising negligence claims with a longer statute of limitations against the design professionals. And of course, if a defect is considered latent, this could extend the amount of time available for unit owners to lodge their claims.
There’s a lot at stake here and at least in Florida there may be a number of avenues for the unit owners to pursue.
Full Story: Is one of Tampa Bay's premier condo towers sinking? | Tampa Bay Times