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Luxury apartments marred by construction defects get a fresh start

If you drive about 25 miles southwest of Orlando, you will arrive in Celebration, Florida. The small town is home to Sola at Celebration, a 306-unit luxury apartment complex that was developed in 2015. However, the entire Sola property is currently vacant, according to news sources.

The property was vacated on orders from the Osceola Building Department because construction defects made the premises unsafe. A 2017 TV news report said an engineering firm inspected the property then and found "extreme deterioration" of the "wood structural members." The report also stated that the property was unsafe and sinking.

Regardless, the Sola at Celebration owner- Southstar Capital Group - found a buyer (CGI Strategies) for the property. The sale price was reportedly $43 million. Southstar purchased the property from the developer; shortly after that transaction, the construction defects were discovered and residents were ordered to vacate their homes.

The new owner has plans to fix the construction defects, its founder and CEO said. "I'm sure there were many who looked at Sola and were turned away by the size and scope of the corrections that needed to be made," Gidi Cohen said. He added that his company has had past success with similar projects, so he's "confident in our ability to remedy the problems."

Engineers have reportedly completed their plans to repair the complex. The new owner said it has county approval and is ready to begin construction. It anticipates it will have Sola at Celebration ready to begin welcoming new residents by the end of the year, though it will be under a new name: Astoria at Celebration.

Let's hope that the serious construction flaws are fully repaired and resolved so that the property is safe for future residents.

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