Company alerts county to “significant” issues in condo complex
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) – Engineers at a private company alerted Central Florida County officials this week to significant structural issues discovered at a condominium complex two months ago, but never resolved by the owners association.
Orlando-based Farmer Architecture told Osceola County officials it had warned the Kissimmee Image Condominium Owners Association that three buildings in the complex were “unsafe and in danger of collapsing.” on April 30, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Farmer and another company, Born Engineers, made the recommendations but never received a response from the association, according to emails released Thursday.
Emails sent to Miguel Ubiles of FirstService Residential, the HOA for Images Condominiums, described “considerably rotten wood framing” and additional rot in the wood columns, according to the report. The company recommended “closing these areas to traffic until further investigation can take place to determine the extent of the rotten wood problem.”
Todd Born, president and owner of Born Engineering, contacted county officials on Tuesday, saying property managers never approved a proposal to make the repairs.
“We have not heard from the owner and are concerned that nothing will be done,” Born’s email told William Grimes, Osceola’s chief building inspector. “In my opinion, what we encountered in our very limited review of the condition is a very serious condition. The walkways are at risk of collapsing and could pose a threat to public safety.
Ubiles did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
The county declared 72 units of the complex unsafe on Wednesday. The newspaper reported that some residents have opted for 14-day stays at nearby hotels paid for by the county while repairs are being made. Others appeared to have stayed at home despite the warning, the Sentinel reported.
We didn’t know how long it would take to make the repairs.
“Everyone here, we work in the tourism industry and we have been hit hard by COVID, and coming home is really sad,” Jennifer Dodd, a resident affected by the closures, told the newspaper.
Osceola County spokesman Chris Brumbaugh said the county had received permission from the HOA to inspect the other eight buildings on the property.
“Repairing existing structural problems is the responsibility of the condo association / management company,” said Brumbaugh.
Michael Allen, who is considering moving to the Michigan area, was due to visit the complex before being briefed on what was going on.
“I’m leaving. I don’t even want to go and see,” Allen told the newspaper. He said it reminded him of the building collapse at the South Champlain Towers. in Surfside, Florida, which killed 18 people and left 145 others missing as a result of long-known deficiencies in the building’s structure.