Article Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Times
By Susan Taylor Martin
Published June 13, 2019
TAMPA — Police are
investigating possible acts of vandalism
after finding part of the new Virage condo
tower on Bayshore Boulevard flooded and
elevator equipment damaged.
No charges have been filed so far, although
damage was initially estimated at $50,000.
Shortly before 11 p.m.
on Sunday, June 2, a caller reported that a large group of
people had entered the site of the tower, which is under
construction at Bayshore and West Julia Street. Police found
young men and women running around the second level of the
24-story building and told them to leave, which they did.
In searching the tower, officers noted that the 21st floor —
mostly unfinished concrete — had been flooded by water
running from a hose connected to an open spigot.
On the top floor, officers found that three elevator sheaves
— the pulleys used on cable elevators — had been rolled
toward the west elevator shaft. Two had been thrown down the
shaft, damaging it as they fell. One landed at the bottom of
the shaft while the other crashed through the 14th floor,
the report said.
The incidents are "still under investigation,'' police
spokesperson Steve Hegarty said Monday. "We were unable to
determine whether the flooding was caused by a rupture in
the hose, or if the workers left it on by mistake, or the
kids did it intentionally. Also, we’re investigating to see
who is responsible for what appears to be a very deliberate
act of rolling the elevator equipment down the shaft.''
The Virage Bayshore, a 24-story condominium tower is
under construction on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida.
In response to questions from a reporter, the developer
of Virage, Ascentia Development Group, said: "A group of teenagers broke
into the construction site … and caused some vandalism and equipment damage.
During the incident, a burst water hose was discovered at an upper-level
area that was at the bare concrete stage. Our completed and near-completed
units were not affected. Police and our construction experts quickly had the
situation under control, and damage appears to be superficial. We expect
delivery of residences to buyers to proceed on schedule.''
In 2014, another Tampa condo tower, the Stovall on Bayshore Boulevard, was
badly damaged when a worker accidentally broke a sprinkler pipe, causing
thousands of gallons of water to flood units below. Residents had to move
out for several months while repairs were underway.