UPDATED, Dec. 23, 2:50 p.m.: At the Turnberry Isle Yacht and Racquet Club condominium complex, residents expect exceptional, responsive service from developer Jeffrey Soffer. But in a recently filed lawsuit, the Turnberry Isle Condominium Association accuses Soffer affiliate YCM Acquisitions LLC of being derelict in its duty to maintain the North Tower’s lobby and the parking garage’s ground floor.
As a result of the refusal to fix a major water leak and renovate the lobby, as well as the lack of a ground-floor sundry shop, the association wants a judge to wrest control of the common areas from Soffer’s company, according to the complaint, filed recently in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
“Plaintiffs seek declarations that the lobby and [garage ground floor] must be turned over to the association…due to the changed circumstances of YCM’s failure to repair and maintain the properties,” the lawsuit states. “YCM’s ownership of the [lobby and garage ground floor] is unfair, unreasonable, inequitable, and contrary to public policy.”
In an emailed statement, association attorney John Shubin said, “It is unfortunate that a lawsuit had to be filed to compel a high-profile developer like [Soffer’s entity] to fulfill its obligations to repair, maintain and refurbish the association’s lobby and surrounding properties.”
Brett Mufson, president of Fontainebleau Development, Soffer’s main company, said the association’s allegations are completely incorrect and frivolous. “We always had a reputation for operating first class properties,” Mufson said. “And we will continue to respond accordingly.”
The lawsuit alleges that the lobby has multiple active water leaks “literally dripping down the walls” that are damaging a wall that separates the North Tower from an abutting property known as the Monaco building. The association also claims that the Monaco building is in a derelict condition and is infested with rodents.
“YCM has also failed to satisfy its express obligation to refurbish (i.e., renovate and redecorate) the lobby with furniture and accessories pursuant to the declaration and the lobby agreement, and its obligation to operate the sundry shop for the benefit of the North Tower residents,” the complaint states. “The condition of the [North Tower lobby and garage ground floor] and the Monaco building are unsuitable for a first-class, luxury residential community.”
The association claims the lack of repairs potentially poses serious health and safety hazards to the North Tower residents, prevents the residents’ full use and enjoyment of their properties, and severely lowers the North Tower property and rental values. In addition to taking control of the lobby and ground floor, the association is also seeking to compel YCM to repair and renovate the common areas and pay damages caused by the Soffer affiliate’s alleged breach of its obligations.
The lawsuit comes four months after the British private equity and investment firm Reuben Brothers acquired a 25 percent stake in Soffer’s JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa and is partnering with his company, Fontainebleau Development on other investments. That resort went through a $300 million renovation, adding 325 new rooms in a 16-story tower, bringing its total to 685 rooms and suites. Other upgrades include added event space, a refurbished 36-hole golf course; and the construction of Tidal Cove Waterpark.