The Real Deal Miami

Cornerstone agrees to massive disability settlement

March 20, 2013 02:00PM

A home with a wheelchair ramp

A South Florida developer has agreed to retrofit an estimated 5,000 homes for the handicapped, the Palm Beach Post reported. Hollywood-based Cornerstone Group Development will add grab bars, ramps and other features that make homes more accessible to wheelchairs and those with physical limitations.

The decision comes in response to a 2011 lawsuit filed against the builder by the National Fair Housing Alliance and the Greenacres-based Coalition for Independent Living Options. Cornerstone will make alterations to more than 50 of its apartment complexes statewide, including the Preserve at Boynton Beach and Renaissance Apartments in West Palm Beach, as part of the settlement.

In addition to the building changes, Cornerstone will pay the two organizations $1.35 million and establish a fund to help disabled people cover the costs of home alterations, the Post said.

“It’s a huge, huge settlement agreement,” Genevieve Cousminer, executive director of the coalition, told the Post. “There’s so little (accessible housing) available, so when a developer is building apartment complexes and representing that they are accessible, they really should be.” [PBP]Christopher Cameron