Dolphin Tower residents still waiting to go home after 3 years - WFLA News Channel 8

Dolphin Tower residents still waiting to go home after 3 years

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Residents of Sarasota's Dolphin Tower have been waiting three years to go back home.

In the summer of 2010, they were evacuated after the building was in danger of collapsing.  Now, it doesn't look like they can return anytime soon.

Dolphin Tower is a prime piece of real estate.  It's situated next to downtown, overlooking the beautiful Sarasota Bay, but right now it's unlivable.

In June 2010, engineers discovered a problem: a concrete supporting slab had failed, and the building was in danger of collapsing.

At the time, David Karins with the Karins Engineering Group told News Channel 8:

"The place that problem started is where columns don't align one floor to the other; where it changes from parking garage to the living units above. That structural element that transfers those loads from one column to the other failed."

This led to serious issues.

"The walls buckled and there was cracking in the flooring," one tenant said.

More than 100 tenants were evacuated. They were told they could return within weeks, then months, and now it's been three years.

City engineers have since stabilized the building, but the concrete slab on the fourth floor still needs extensive repairs.

According to documents obtained by News Channel 8, the Dolphin Tower Condominium Association has set aside $9 million for repairs.

This summer, a contractor told the board that due to insurance costs, the repairs would exceed the budget.  The condo association dropped them.

Since then, other contractors have offered bids, but those have exceeded the budget too.

The Dolphin Tower Association encouraged the contractors to resubmit the bids, and the board will go over them at a meeting on October 29th.

Some of the tenants have been selling their units, and the documents say there are a number of interested buyers out there.  Right now, there's no clear timetable as to when the tenants will be able to come home.

The president of the Dolphin Tower Condominium Association declined our interview request.

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