Who pays? St. Pete condo resident saddled with pricey retrofit from previous owners

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

In June, Howard Dowling Jones thought he bought his dream condo for $520,000 at Signature Place in St. Petersburg.

However, the a 61-year-old osteopathic physician never expected to be left with a bill for $18,746 after closing on the property at the much-maligned 36-story building downtown.

Like the other residents, Dowling knew all about the buildings problems that became public last year when the condo association decided to sue the developer, Joel Cantor, as well as the architect, engineer, and construction company on the $200 million property.

An inspection found incorrectly installed stucco, water damage, and missing or faulty structural rebar. Initial estimates to repair the “urgent construction defects,” which threatens the safety of both residents and pedestrians, came in around $700,000.

Ultimately, that figure proved significantly short, with residents later receiving a special assessment of $8.7 million.

Costs range from  $9,910 for the smallest unit to $132,244 for the three-story penthouse.

At issue in the lawsuit is whether the previous owners of Unit 1204, Vladimir Golod, 63, and wife Yelena, 64, intended to pay the unit’s assessment of $18,746 or pass it on to the new owner.

Jones says he was assured the building’s stucco would be fixed and paid for before the purchase of the unit was complete. To make matters worse, structural defects were also found under the stucco on the premises.

Jones now claims the Golods illegally withheld that information.

As a result of these issues – and subsequent news coverage – Jones now believes the value of his unit is less than he originally paid, just over a half-million dollars

Meanwhile, the Golods seem undeterred by the problems. Shortly before completing the purchase, the couple moved to a $1.16 million unit, 2.5 times larger than their previous place on Beach Drive.

Neither Jones nor the Golods could be reached for comment.