By Tim O’ Meilia
The Mayfair House has come to the rescue of the Imperial House, a nearby six-story co-operative in South Palm Beach in danger of collapsing into the Atlantic Ocean during another angry nor’easter.
The Mayfair House, five buildings north, has offered to allow its neighbors access to the beach through its parking lot for the equipment and materials necessary to build a seawall to protect the Imperial House against the encroaching ocean.
“It’s humanitarian,” said Mayfair resident Joan McManus, who urged her board of directors to allow the access. “If another nor’easter or a hurricane comes, they’re finished. I couldn’t let that happen.”
Imperial House had tried unsuccessfully to persuade the town of Lantana to allow access through the town’s beach. Lantana wanted more than $200,000 to make up for redesigning its own seawall when the Imperial House didn’t erect one in 2008.
South Palm Beach appealed last month to Palm Beach County for help, but the county attorney’s office said that Lantana was not overstepping its rights.
“We’re going to take it and run,” Imperial House board member Bonnie Fischer said of the agreement. Not all of the details have been worked out. Imperial House likely will pay a fee but tens of thousands of dollars less than Lantana’s demand.
Mayfair House is in the midst of erecting its own $1.6 million seawall. In November, waves lapped against a sidewalk surrounding the Imperial House and emergency concrete and boulders were trucked in to halt further erosion. “Before, there was no hope,” Fischer said. “Now, it’s like a miracle.”