Broward News

West Palm Condo Building Plagued by Chinese Drywall

So far, the problems with Chinese drywall in South Florida appear to have been confined to single-family homes. Sure, some entire developments, like Heron Bay in Parkland, might turn out to have been built with the defective drywall. But the reports of Chinese drywall in South Florida have so far been confined to homes.

Not anymore. The management company at The Whitney condo building in downtown West Palm Beach recently sent a letter to residents warning that there's Chinese drywall present in the building. WPBF Channe 25 reports that one resident has found signs of corrosion to pipes in her apartment -- a sign that the Chinese drywall is present.

"This may be the first," says D.C.-based lawyer William Anderson, who's working on several Chinese drywall cases. "It makes sense. Condo builders like to save money, and it makes sense that we'd find Chinese drywall in them." Chinese drywall has reportedly been found in a condo building in Sarasota.

What's also possibly a first with The Whitney is that many of the building's apartments are owned by one company. Scandinavian company ABG Sundal Collier paid $24 million in cash for 141 units in The Whitney in February.

ABG's Mark Lindeis wouldn't talk about the Chinese drywall problem, saying only: "Sir, there is really no comment at this time."

That's not really a surprise, considering that Lindeis' name was on the deal. But ABG brings significant weight to the fight over Chinese drywall. If the company sues, it'll surely bring a school of lawyers down on the manufacturers of the defective drywall.

Word that The Whitney is affected could be bad news for the dozens of condo developments that popped up in South Florida during the building boom, because if it's present in one building, it's likely we'll find it in others.

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Eric Barton
Contact: Eric Barton