Sereno condo association sues, alleging poor workmanship

Lawsuit accuses developers 13th Floor Investments and Integra Investments of cutting corners and breaching warranties

From left: Arnaud Karsenti, Nelson Stabile, and Victor Ballestas with a rendering of Sereno at Bay Harbor Islands
From left: Arnaud Karsenti, Nelson Stabile, and Victor Ballestas with a rendering of Sereno at Bay Harbor Islands

At Sereno at Bay Harbor Islands, residents are alleging that water is intruding in various locations, access gates and doors are improperly installed and stucco is cracking on exterior walls, according to a lawsuit filed this month.

The Sereno Residences Condominium Association sued Bay Harbor Holdings, a partnership between 13th Floor Investments and Integra Investments, as well as companies that worked on the design and construction of the 38-unit building completed in 2017. The complaint, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, also names as defendants Corwil Architects, Miller Construction and four subcontractors that worked on the luxury mid-rise condominium.

In 2012, 13th Floor and Integra paid $15.3 million for the waterfront property at 10201 East Bay Harbor Drive and nine other apartment buildings in the neighborhood. The firms financed the construction with a $12.3 million City National Bank loan.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Attached to the lawsuit is a 90-page Aug. 18, 2018 report by engineering firm The Falcon Group that identified 26 deficiencies and other evidence of poor workmanship. The association hired the engineering firm shortly after Bay Harbor Island Holdings turned over the building, where units range in size from 1,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet. Units sold for a total of $44.5 million or an average of $626 per square foot. Amenities were to include a rooftop lounge with a “zero-edge pool,” an outdoor movie theater and a marina with private boat slips.

Darrin Gursky, the condo association’s attorney, and executives for Corwil Architects and Miller Construction did not return phone messages and emails seeking comment. Nelson Stabile and Victor Ballestas, Integra’s principals, also did not respond to requests for comment. In an emailed statement, 13th Floor Investments’ managing principal Arnaud Karsenti said: “We are diligently working with the association towards a final resolution of this matter.”

Shortly after Falcon submitted its report, Gursky sent Bay Harbor Holdings a notice of claim that states the developer failed to provide the outdoor theater, a gaming lounge with a chess design, a Jacuzzi, a lounge area with a fire pit and a visitor boat slip. “All items noted above were material inducements to all unit owners in their purchase of respective units,” Gursky wrote

Furthermore, Sereno’s common areas are not as upscale as the developers promised to deliver, Gursky’s notice states. “The present furnishings in both the lobby and rooftop entertainment area fall far short of the expected results and do not match the luxuriousness that was promised,” he wrote.