Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Leaks found at affordable house project in Tampa

TAMPA — Just one year after it officially opened, water is leaking into at least 25 apartments in one of the city's signature affordable housing projects, a consultant has found.

The preliminary report on conditions at the Reed at Encore, a seven-story senior living center on the edge of downtown Tampa, found evidence of water damage to baseboards, door jambs and drywall, and possible window seal leaks. At least one apartment may have mold as a result of the damp conditions, the report by IBA Consultants found.

The $31 million center was built by the Siltek Group, a Plantation general contractor that the Tampa Housing Authority and its development partner fired this summer while it was completing the neighboring Tempo at Encore apartment tower.

A more detailed report is being compiled to determine where water is intruding. Contractors will use high pressure water sprays and infrared sensors to track where water is spreading behind walls.

Juan Felipe, a 62-year-old resident, noticed that a wall and the ceiling in his bedroom were damp several months ago.

After conducting tests to find the source of the leak, workers about two months ago repaired the damp surfaces and used a machine to remove humidity from his room.

Housing authority emails show that concerns about damp and water intrusion have been ongoing for several months. In June, officials compiled a list of defects they planned to send to Siltek to request repairs.

It showed rainwater leaking from the pool into hallways, exterior leaks into the community meeting room and manager's office, and numerous leaks into apartments on upper floors.

Under state law, Siltek must be given the chance to make repairs before it can be sued for construction defects.

The authority and its development partner, Banc of America Community Development Corp., took a first step in that process Sept. 29, sending Siltek a copy of the preliminary report and a notice of claim letter.

"Given the potential for contamination of the property's units and common areas with mold and mildew, which pose serious risks to the health and welfare of the property's residents and guests, the owner intends to treat these conditions as 'health safety and welfare' construction defects that will require 'necessary emergency repairs,' '' a letter from attorneys at Stearns Weaver Miller stated.

Attorneys at the firm declined to comment for this report.

The letter was also sent to Berkley Regional Insurance Company, which provided the surety bond for the project.

Reed is a fully bonded project, meaning Berkley will likely have to handle repairs that the contractor refuses to make.

The housing authority and its development partner are also expected to sue Siltek for its work on the $25.6 million Tempo project. Siltek was fired from the project in June with Tempo still surrounded by scaffolding and only about three-quarters complete.

A default letter sent to Siltek listed its failure to fully staff the project, inadequate supervision of subcontractors and project delays among the issues for the termination.

Another concern was that Rene Sierra, onetime project manager of Tempo for Siltek, pled guilty in federal court to inflating invoices so he could pay kickbacks of $6.2 million to the developers of affordable housing projects through his company, Siltek Affordable Housing. He is due to be sentenced later this year.

Ana Silviera-Sierra, the president of Siltek and the wife of Sierra, did not return a call seeking comment.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.

Comments
Forecast: Brutal cold arrives in Tampa Bay, but won’t stay long

Forecast: Brutal cold arrives in Tampa Bay, but won’t stay long

It’s freezing, literally. For now.The quick-moving cold blast, which has been anticipated for days, arrived with an especially frigid punch across Tampa Bay.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area The region is under a freeze wa...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

"On Nov. 3, 2017, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to 1012 Buena Vista Drive … in reference to a death investigation."So begins a charging document in the case of Andrew Coffey, the 20-year-old Florida State University student who was foun...
Updated: 14 minutes ago

Two treated at hospital after fire at Apollo Beach home

Two elderly residents were treated at a local hospital after a fire at an Apollo Beach home early Thursday morning.Hillsborough Fire Rescue crews, responding to the 600 block of Flamingo Drive around 4 a.m., found the home fully engulfed in flames.Tw...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Tampa Bay freeze won’t last long; report describes binge drinking in FSU hazing death; Lord Stanley, meet Jose Gaspar; 15,000 ball pit balls up for auction

The Daystarter: Tampa Bay freeze won’t last long; report describes binge drinking in FSU hazing death; Lord Stanley, meet Jose Gaspar; 15,000 ball pit balls up for auction

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• The worst is behind us, but we’re not quite yet finished with the chilly weather. Last night was one of the coldest nights in years, prompting shelters to open across Tampa B...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Romano: Are buses really our last gasp?

Romano: Are buses really our last gasp?

To the members of the Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area Leadership group:Listen carefully when a new plan for a rapid bus system is unveiled to you on Friday. All the benefits the supporters will tout will undoubtedly be true.A rapid bus syste...
Updated: 11 hours ago
In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In the state capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers breezed through the bullet points of a higher education bill. They skimmed past a hot-button proposal to consolidate the University of South Florida System into a single university without a peep of pushba...
Updated: 11 hours ago
New St. Pete City Council gets to work, starting with 2018 budget

New St. Pete City Council gets to work, starting with 2018 budget

ST. PETERSBURG — The new City Council will get its first chance to weigh in on the 2018 budget on Thursday morning — and they’re likely to bring a long list of priorities to the table.In recent years, rising property values have kept city coffers flu...
Published: 01/18/18
After half a century, World Liquors sign may finally come down

After half a century, World Liquors sign may finally come down

ST. PETERSBURG — The demise of the distinctive sign has been rumored many times.This time, it’s no rumor. It looks very likely that by the end of spring the corner of 16th Street and Central Avenue will no longer be graced by World Liquors and its ic...
Published: 01/18/18
Extraordinary heroism deserves a less ordinary movie than ‘12 Strong’

Extraordinary heroism deserves a less ordinary movie than ‘12 Strong’

After 16 years of combat and counting, the war in Afghanistan gets a happy movie ending in 12 Strong, a thick slice of patriot porn.Based on a true story, 12 Strong rightfully celebrates the first U.S. Special Forces unit battling Taliban forces shel...
Published: 01/18/18
Crystal Lagoon planners brace for chilly ribbon cutting today

Crystal Lagoon planners brace for chilly ribbon cutting today

WESLEY CHAPEL — Mother Nature seems to have a way of putting a chill on one of the hottest amenities in residential real estate development.Members of the business community, elected officials and officers with Metro Development Group and Crystal Lag...
Published: 01/18/18