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Downtown St. Petersburg’s Bliss condo owners sue developers over shoddy construction

Owners say they’re footing the bill for repairs.

Residents in a downtown St. Petersburg high-rise are suing its developers over building defects they say are causing expensive damage to their property.

The Bliss Condominium Association is the homeowner’s association for the 18-story building completed in downtown St. Pete in 2017. The group is suing developers Taub Entities and Voeller Construction for damages they claim are in excess of Pinellas County court limits, which is $30,000.

Residents claim the building’s construction defects have caused “community-wide water-intrusion damage to components of the building including, but not limited to, the building exteriors, building framing, building sheathing, building lath, drywall, paint, interior and exterior finishes, erosion/differential movement of soils, damage to concrete slabs and walkways, driveways/streets and sidewalks.”

The lawsuit seeks damages to cover repairs, temporary housing and storage. They claim developers are guilty of negligence, building code violations, deceptive and unfair trade practices and breaches of contract, warranty and fiduciary duty.

“The cause of the defects and deficiencies, and the damages caused thereby, are not of the type that would reasonably be recognizable by persons Who lack special knowledge or training, or they are hidden by building components or finishes, and they are latent defects and deficiencies to the unit owners Who, in the exercise of due diligence, did not and could not discover the existence or cause of the defects and deficiencies until sometime after the purchase and occupancy of the units in the Property,” the lawsuit reads.

Bliss is located at 176 4th Ave. NE.

Bliss broke ground in mid-2015 to fanfare from future residents after months of contention over its footprint. A neighboring resident sued the city arguing the development plans didn’t comply with the city’s comprehensive plan. The resident argued the footprint was about 10,000 square feet too big for the space it would be occupying.

Developers eventually answered all of the challenges including by altering site plans to move the planned parking garage that includes a car elevator and provide space in plans for cars to wait if the elevator was occupied.

Bliss’s narrow footprint provides just two units per floor and none share a wall, a feature that was attractive to potential buyers. When the tower broke ground, only three units were still available. Prices for the units at that time ranged from $800,000 to more than $1 million.

A listing for one unit on Zillow shows an estimated retail value of $1.1 million.

The Bliss condo association filed the lawsuit in Pinellas County Court on Jan. 6.

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