According to Jerry Jackson at the Orlando Sentinel, the developer of downtown Orlando’s Paramount condo tower testified in court on Wednesday that the company had spent more than $16 million to add extra bracing to the building. The developer went on to claim that this work was not a “material” change requiring notification of individual buyers at the Paramount.
The problem was first noticed in late 2007, according to Greg West, senior vice president of Orlando-based Zom Inc., and repairs began immediately. He said the general contractor noticed cracks in some concrete beams, a problem of insufficient â€œrebar” rods in the concrete. However the issue was resolved and Paramount received the required certificates of occupancy from the city.
But some would-be residents are still unhappy. Alexis Freire is asking state Circuit Court Judge to make the developer return more than $100,000 in deposits for two of the units that he wrote contracts on. Freire also is asking the court to certify his lawsuit as a â€œclass action suitâ€, so that everyone else who wrote contracts in the 313-unit complex could ask for their deposits back as a group – rather than in separate court cases.
The judge did not rule on Wednesday whether the suit will be certified for class action, but she did note that the Paramount’s buyers each have different facts and issues facing them, from the size of the units to closing dates.
This raises speculation in the mind of many that perhaps the whole law suit is designed simply to find a way of not closing on units that now seem over priced. â€œItâ€™s possible that the claims are legitimate,â€ said Marcus Burke of CondoMetropolis.com, â€œHowever, itâ€™s equally possible that these buyers are looking for a legal loophole that will get them their deposits back and allow them to avoid closing. Theyâ€™ve been trying this in Miami for some time now. If the lawyers can find their clients a loophole, they’ll take it.â€
Interestingly, another buyer who moved into the 17-story tower about a month ago says that heâ€™s happy with both his unit and the building.
“There’s nothing wrong with the building,” said Tom Mix who has worked in construction for 30 years and supervises projects, â€œIt’s not uncommon to have to make significant changes and repairs during construction.â€
For more info on the Paramount condos, see our dedicated Paramount condo page.