The Real Deal New York

Mold, decay putting damper on Florida town’s Disney magic

Residents of Celebration are seeking up to $20M in repairs
November 19, 2016 10:00AM

Celebration, Fla.

Celebration, Fla.

Nothing can break the enchantment of a Disney-themed town quite like rotting condos.

Homes in Walt Disney’s vision for a utopian neighborhood — Celebration, Fla.  — are plagued by mold, leaking roofs and balconies that are detaching from buildings, the Wall Street Journal reported. Residents are suing Lexin Capital, a private-equity firm that took over part of the town in 2004, seeking to force the firm to pay $15 million to $20 million in repairs.

“We bought cabins on the Titanic,” Cookie Kelly, who has lived in Celebration since 1998, told the newspaper.

Metin Negrin, president of Lexin, told the newspaper that the repairs will cost closer to $5 million.

The 20-year-old town spans 11 square miles near the Magic Kingdom. Disney envisioned Celebration as an ideal suburban town, insulated from the usual unpleasant elements of other American towns — such as garbage, which is kept out of sight behind the homes. But reality got in anyway: Several businesses in the town closed during Florida’s foreclosure crisis. Design flaws in the buildings have become increasingly apparent, like walls lined with nylon, which traps water and results in rotting.

Currently 10,000 people live in Celebration across 105 condo units and 4,000 single-family homes. [WSJ]Kathryn Brenzel