Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel
February 6, 2015
Residents of a crime-plagued condo complex near Florida Mall are facing eviction after their homes were condemned by Orange County..
County code enforcement has deemed the staircases unsafe at four of the seven buildings in the Blossom Park condominiums, meaning residents of the second and third floors may have to leave. First-floor residents are unaffected.
Built as a Days Inn in the 1970s, the 345-unit complex at 1851 W. Landstreet Road was converted to condos in 2003. It has been in receivership since 2010. The court-appointed receiver, Frank Paul Barber, is hopeful he'll be able to repair the stairways, allowing residents to stay.
"They sent out these notices and panicked people," Barber said. "There's no question about it, there's one [stairway] that needs shoring up, but the others are secure."
Barber said he planned a special assessment to pay for the repairs, even though it will mean an additional hardship for the complex's low-income residents.
"We can't have 350 people out on the street," he said. "There's enough problem with homelessness."
Barber said he is meeting with county officials Monday to discuss repairs.
If the evictions go forward, the county's Families, Health & Social Services department is offering to put up displaced residents for one week in an extended-stay motel. So far, nine families have accepted the assistance, the county said.
County code enforcement manager Bob Spivey said each of the seven buildings in the complex has amassed $25,000 in fines for code violations.
Spivey told county commissioners last week that stairways in the affected buildings are "in imminent danger of collapse" and unsafe for residents or emergency personnel to use. The elevators in the buildings are inoperative, he said.
Three people were shot to death at the complex in 2014. It's also known as a haven for drugs and prostitution.