By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Did you ever wonder who provides the capital investment to build condominiums?
According to Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky), the 150-unit CenterCourt condo was developed by a company owned by Mayor Jim Gray’s brother. City attorney Bill Lear is one of the investors.
Construction was completed in two phases, in 2007 and 2009. The condo complex is located near the University of Kentucky, and, although the units are individually owned, many are rented to college students.
However, just a few years after construction was completed, tenants began to report problems with water leaks and apparent settling of balconies. Tenants had to be relocated so that condo owners could investigate the problems. Further investigation uncovered major defects in the structure of wood frame balconies, as well as exterior siding and moisture barriers.
So far, unit owners have had to fork over $2.1 million in special assessments (an average of $14,000 per unit) to remove structurally unsound balconies and replace them with steel frame structures. The siding has also been replaced. There are still issues with the parking garage to be addressed.
CenterCourt is barely a decade old, and problems began to appear 4 years ago. How much more will it cost to repair or rebuild?
Understandably, frustrated condo owners have filed a class action lawsuit against companies that designed and built CenterCourt.
But one has to wonder, how did CenterCourt manage to pass various building inspections without any City official detecting subpar balcony construction, among other things?
Is it just a coincidence that the architectural design firm for CenterCourt is now defunct?
Did political ties to City Hall have anything to do with apparently lax oversight during construction?
Shifting balconies, water damage: Condo owners near UK sue to recover millions spent on repairs
Greg Kocher, Lexington Herald-Leader
Feb. 10, 2017
A lawsuit pits condominium owners in the downtown Lexington CenterCourt complex against a company in which Lexington attorney Bill Lear is an investor and a Versailles construction firm owned by Mayor Jim Gray’s family.
The condo owners allege that poor construction, negligence and building code violations in the complex near the University of Kentucky have cost them millions in repairs, rental income from tenants who had to move, and a loss in the value of their apartments.