12345044489?profile=RESIZE_710xAdmiral’s Walk treasurer Collin D’Silva (l-r), property manager Daniel Gonzalez and condo board president Howard Somers talk out front of the condominium tower. Gonzalez says condo owners and buyers noticed work was underway at Admiral’s Walk while other places ‘were figuring out what they wanted to do.’ Photos by Tim Stepien/ The Coastal Star

Related: Highland Beach: Dalton Place recertification work began months before Surfside collapse

By Mary Hladky

Immediately after the horrific 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Admiral’s Walk condo board members and the building’s property manager swung into action.

The building’s 68 condo owners needed assurances that their 18-story building at 4545 N. Ocean Blvd. was safe, said property manager Daniel Gonzalez. He and the board also anticipated that building safety laws would be enacted.

“We wanted to make sure we were ahead of the curve,” he said.

They were right. Mayor Scott Singer proposed an ordinance that would require buildings in the city to be inspected for safety shortly after the Surfside tragedy.

Moving at lightning speed, city staff created one just 34 days after the collapse that claimed 98 lives. When the City Council approved it one month later, Boca Raton became the first city in Palm Beach County to enact such a law.

But the Admiral’s Walk board moved even faster.

Before the ordinance was on the books, the board had hired an engineering firm to inspect the building and a contractor to make any needed repairs.

In late November, Admiral’s Walk, built in 1974, became the first building in the city to get a building recertification, a designation that the building is safe.

“All the residents have been very happy we were proactive with this process,” said condo treasurer Collin D’Silva. “We are very pleased we got this done ahead of schedule.”

The process produced benefits beyond peace of mind for condo owners.

“We have sold a number of apartments in the past year,” Gonzalez said. “One of the things that gave the people confidence to buy into the building was that we were underway while others were figuring out what they wanted to do.”

The city has identified 242 buildings that meet the criteria for safety inspections. Single-family homes and duplexes are exempt. The ordinance divides the city into four zones, with buildings on the barrier island receiving the highest priority for review.

The first notices were sent to 14 buildings, including Admiral’s Walk, saying that inspection reports by structural and electrical engineers were due by Feb. 1, 2023. The final group of buildings must submit reports by Nov. 1, 2026.

The state Legislature passed a statewide condo inspection law in 2022 that also requires condo boards to set aside money in reserves to cover future repairs. The city ordinance was largely consistent with the state inspection rules, but officials made a few changes to it so it would conform.

When a building is 30 years old, or 25 years old if it is within three miles of the ocean, and three stories or taller, its owners must hire structural and electrical engineers to examine them and fill out checklists provided by the city. Any deficiencies are noted there.

A city-hired peer review team then examines the reports and checklists, and any comments are sent to the engineers, said city Building Official Michael DiNorscio.

Of the first group of buildings receiving notices, the Three Thousand South condo at 3000 S. Ocean Blvd. did not meet the deadline to submit reports. The city informed building officials they were not in compliance with the ordinance in August and said they must submit reports by Sept. 11 or face fines of up to $500 a day. Since then, an engineering firm asked the city for a deadline extension, saying that companies had been hired to repair concrete and replace the roof, with the work expected to be completed in December. The firm said the condo is structurally safe.

12345045874?profile=RESIZE_710xReinforced columns in the parking garage were part of the restoration work.

As of the end of December, the city was attempting to confirm that the work had started. If so, the city could cancel or reschedule a Feb. 14 fine hearing before a special magistrate.

The buildings inspected so far, DiNorscio said, “are not compromised in a way we have anything to worry about and that needs to be addressed immediately.”

D’Silva and Gonzalez said they were not concerned that inspections would find major problems at Admiral’s Walk because they are proactive about maintenance and repairs. For example, the building is painted every five years and any concrete restoration that is needed is done along with the painting.

The inspections found the need for more support for a cooling tower enclosure on the roof and concrete restoration work, they said. Columns in the garage that is separate from the condo building needed to be reinforced.

The repairs were done in conjunction with building repainting and the total cost was about $1 million, D’Silva said. The cost of the work was covered by a special assessment.

The painting and repairs were completed this summer, he said.

The notification from the city that the condo had been certified was welcome news, Gonzalez said.

“As soon as we got that letter from the city of Boca Raton we were very happy to let our owners know,” he said. “It was a long process and a loud process. Our residents were very patient.”

12345045685?profile=RESIZE_710xThe view from the 19th-floor rooftop of Admiral’s Walk looking north along Ocean Boulevard in Boca Raton.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Activity Feed

The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Tuesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Apr 6
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
Apr 3
The Coastal Star posted a photo
Apr 3
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in LANTANA
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in HIGHLAND BEACH
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted photos
Apr 3
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in ACROSS THE BRIDGE
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in SOUTH PALM BEACH
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
Apr 3
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a blog post
Apr 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
Apr 3
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Apr 3
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Apr 3
More…