As Willowbrook condo repairs drag on, residents' frustrations grow

Residents' frustrations grow as developer works to fix moisture, mold problems

srocco@bradenton.comSeptember 27, 2013 

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the status of a former Willowbrook resident.

EAST MANATEE -- Armando Delgado said he had mushrooms growing in his living room.

Severe water intrusion and mold caused the fungus to sprout from underneath the floor, he said. The conditions in his Willowbrook condominium were so deplorable he had to move out in May (he was evicted a month later).

The heavy construction in Willowbrook is slowly progressing, but a completion date has not been determined, and residents -- and former residents, like Delgado -- are getting increasingly angry.

"The stress that comes along with this is astronomical," Delgado said. "You're talking about years and years of frustrations and dealing with these idiots."

The construction began after dozens of Willowbrook residents pushed for repairs on their condos when they found water intrusion, mold and defective balconies among other signs of shoddy construction. KB Home, which developed the 272-unit Willowbrook community next to Lakewood Ranch, agreed to pay for repairs, and construction started in January.

There are 16 buildings under construction out of 51 total, said Sal Ventimiglia, president of Dueall Construction, the contractor assigned to the project. Three buildings have been completed.

"We've been starting one building each week, so all the buildings are in different phases of construction," he said. "Some buildings are worse than others, so some take longer than others."

Ventimiglia and Cara Kane, spokeswoman for KB Home, both said a completion date has still not been determined.

"The estimated completion time of each building is three and a half months and we're hitting that schedule," Ventimiglia said.

"We are continuing to make great progress," Kane said.

Resident John Hewlin still has not had work started on his home. He is concerned that water is leaking on electrical units, which would be a severe safety hazard, and that excessive noise outside of his home is interfering with work.

"It's very loud, very disruptive," said Hewlin, who works from home.

Hewlin said he asked KB Home if they would help him with office relocation and the company said they do not offer that service.

"It will be impossible to work when they start construction on my building," he said.

Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco.

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