A straightforward job to replace the windows and doors of an Art Deco hotel on Ocean Drive turned into a major project to fix structural damage to the building. And now the company that fixed the Carlyle at 1250 Ocean Drive is alleging the owners haven’t paid for the repairs.
According to a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month, Boynton Beach-based Properties of Elegant Distinction accuses the Carlyle Deco Hotel Condominium Association of breaching its contract by skipping out on a $1.2 million bill. Representatives for the general contractor and the condo association could not be reached for comment.
Built in 1939, the Carlyle was designed by leading Art Deco architectural firm Kiehnel and Elliott. The Ocean Drive property was converted into a condo hotel in 2006. According to the lawsuit, the condo association hired Properties of Elegant Distinction in February 2014 to paint the hotel and replace the windows and doors. Shortly after starting the job, Properties of Elegant Distinction workers discovered a “serious leak and structural issues” in the building that had created “large cracks in the stucco and large portions of spalling stucco and spalling concrete from the structural beams and columns.”
The association brought in an engineer, who determined “that there was a life-safety issue in the structural components of the building,” the lawsuit alleges. Some residents were not allowed to stay in their units until repairs were completed.
A year later, a newly elected board of directors for the condo association hired another engineering firm for a second opinion after Properties of Elegant Distinction had begun a substantial amount of the renovation, the lawsuit states. The second engineer confirmed the structural repairs were necessary.
“The [engineer’s] report identified severe structural deficiencies, including significant corrosion of rebar, structural deficiencies in the main column steel supporting the building and structural deficiencies in the main beams along the floor levels,” the lawsuit states. “The beam was described as a safety issue as it supports the entire east elevation and is over a restaurant area which is constantly occupied by people.”
Properties of Elegant Distinction completed the repairs in March and submitted invoices to the condo association. To date, payment has not been made even though the general contractor filed two construction liens on the property, according to the lawsuit.