Element high rise still closed to residential tenants, as repairs continue

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hundreds of people are without a home in Tampa, and there’s still no word on when they can move back in.

Last week, the residential water supply broke inside the Element apartment building, causing water to gush out into hallways and people’s homes.

Right now, there are signs posted on all the doors to the building that say, “Entrance closed until further notice.”

On Friday, the water main inside the building broke in two places, the 12th and 27th floor. Element is a 35 story building.

A spokesman with Tampa Fire Rescue told 8 On Your Side there’s water damage from the 27th floor and down. Jordan LeFranc stays on the 19th floor.

“There’s fans, vacuums, they ripped up the wall to prevent the walls getting wet, it looks like a renovation honestly,” LeFranc said. “You don’t move into a luxury apartment expecting these problems.”

The company that owns the property, Northland, tells 8 On Your Side they are still assessing the extent of the water damage and are reaching out to those whose apartments were more severely impacted.

The company says it’s putting people in hotels, but LeFranc says he can’t stay in one because he has a pet and is now staying with a friend.

“It’s just a scramble,” LeFranc said. “No one wants to live like this. You say you pay for what you get but I didn’t pay to be put in this situation.”

A spokesman with Tampa Fire Rescue says repairs to the residential water supply are ongoing. The failure was on the residential supply side. As a side note, the fire protection system was not affected.

Management is letting people come in between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. only to grab their items, then then they have to leave. The Element says they’re extending hotel stays through Thursday night.

Northland sent 8 On Your Side a statement below:

Restoration crews have been working around the clock since Friday to make repairs to the building so that residents can return as soon as possible. Additionally, we have been assessing the extent of the water damage by floor and will be personally reaching out to those whose apartments were more severely impacted. In the meantime, we are continuing to provide nearby hotel rooms for those who need them. Our onsite team has been sending regular updates to our community and is committed to supporting our residents throughout this stressful time.

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