If you drive northeast of Sarasota for about two hours, you'll arrive in Celebration. The community planned by the Walt Disney Company has deep ties to neighboring Walt Disney World and its resorts. While the emphasis in the company and community is invariably on the positive, not everything in Celebration is as it should be.
We have in the past written about the struggles at the luxury apartment and condo community where residents have had to deal with a variety of construction defects that included failing concrete, sloped floors and water damage in ceilings and roofs. Residents also reported cracks in ceilings near their outdoor balconies.
The high-end community within Celebration has undergone several name changes as developers and owners have struggled to repair and rebrand it.
It began as Aviva at Celebration and then was marketed as Sola at Celebration. After a recent $48 million loan to CGI Strategies, it will become Astoria at Celebration. The loan was to fund the purchase and to correct construction defects and renovate units, a news source reports.
Investment bank Dekel Capital arranged the financing and expressed confidence "that once the construction issues are remediated, the property will be a first-to-rent, highly amenitized community in a burgeoning multifamily market." A statement from the California-based company was also enthusiastic about CGI, which it touts as having "a track record of acquiring and remedying problematic real estate assets and successfully returning them to market."
CGI acquired the 306-unit property in February of this year. The community sits on 14 acres and has a half-dozen four-story structures with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom residences ranging from 741 square feet to 1,371 square feet.
As some readers might recall, after an array of construction defects were revealed, the community was deemed unsafe by local officials. In August of 2017, Osceola County's Building Department declared that residents must vacate their properties or stay at their own risk.
The then-owner of the property announced a lawsuit against the previous owner for failing to make needed repairs to the units and for knowingly concealing and withholding information about the defects and misrepresenting the property when it was sold.
CGI says it will fix the problems and renovate the luxury units. Plans have already been approved by county officials, according to the Commercial Observer. The company said it wants to have the community "back to normal" by the end of the year.
Let's hope that when new residents move in, they find that the defects have been repaired to everyone's satisfaction.
Condo owner associations plagued with similar deficiencies in construction and design can contact a Florida law firm experienced in construction defect litigation.