Fort Myers residents worry about safety of shakey condo building
FORT MYERS, Fla. — In the wake of the devastating condo collapse in Surfside, some local condo owners are concerned about the safety of their own building.
Residents of the Riverside Club off Clifford Street, including the president of the board, are raising the question about construction going on next door.
They say their homes were shaking while crews pushed to build a massive project right outside their window.
“This building was, a lot of shaking going on. A lot of vibration going on,” said James Bolinger.
Bolinger lives on the top floor of the seven story condo in downtown Fort Myers with his wife.
When the shaking started several months ago, they didn’t think anything more of it than an inconvenience.
“With what’s happened recently, it does make me think about that a little bit more now,” said Bolinger.
Champlain Towers in Surfside was 12 stories tall and completed in 1981.
Here in Fort Myers, Riverside is five stories shorter, but 17 years older.
“Is this foundation sturdy enough to take some kind of shaking like that,” questioned Bolinger. “My fears is that we would have some kind of catastrophe where the building could be either greatly damaged or possibly collapsed.”
Those fears intensified with the excavation of a big hole last week. It was dug less than 20 yards from their building, it’s now pumped full of water.
“I can just imagine things like that retention pond caving in,” said President of the Riverside Club Association Judy Willingham.
Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson consulted with the city’s department of public works and DeAngelis Diamond, the construction company building the 327-unit complex.
Mayor Anderson tells me that the pond is a temporary solution for an underground catch basin that’s being built right now.
As for the shaking, he says that’s common during construction.
While the shaking hasn’t happened recently and we know why the pond was built, their fears aren’t going away just yet.
Phase II of the project hasn’t started yet; and this time, it’ll be much closer.
“As President of the Board and speaking for the board, we’re concerned about the structural integrity of the building,” said Willingham.
The president of the Riverside Club says they don’t have a reason to believe their condo is unsafe now.
However, vibrations from Phase II of SIlver Hills construction is cause for concern.
“For the shaking yes, because it’s going to be happening even closer,” said Willingham.
Riverside last underwent an inspection after Hurricane Irma hit, where $450,000 of damage was done.
There are currently no inspection requirements, though, Willingham says the building does undergo routine check-ups.
Although it may be pricey, the condo supports mandatory inspections.
“As long as it’s city-wide or county-wide and everyone has to comply, absolutely,” said Willingham.
In the meantime, the unknown of what will happen still weighs on the residents.
“Hopefully this doesn’t turn into something we’re going to regret,” said Bolinger.
NBC-2 asked for a comment from DeAngleis Diamond. The project manager declined to provide a statement.
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