City Inspector Recommends Safety Measures Immediately at Mira Mar
Following a walk of the building, along with reading initial reports from engineers, the City of Sarasota’s building inspector found the building in a state of overall decline and asked that shoring be placed in the Mira Mar building immediately.
Lawrence Murphy, a building official with the City of Sarasota, wrote an email to Karins Engineering in which he stated that the property should be “shored without delay and a shoring plan developed with your current findings with an importance placed on the second level connecting bridge.” Shoring is utilized to support a building to prevent it from collapsing.
Karins Engineering sent Murphy the report and photos “showing the overall decline of its structural systems to include the lack of plywood to meet any wind loading, termite damage, wood rot and undersized foundations to carry the vertical dead and imposed live loads.”
Mira Mar has been the subject of a lot of attention in the past few days. A developer, Seaward Development, that is in the process of purchasing the building, submitted a proposal to demolish the building and replace it with a new building with 70 condominiums. The proposal was unanimously rejected by the city’s Historic Preservation Board. The email from Murphy was sent a couple hours before the vote. The inspection was not tied to the demolition proposal
There is concern among the Seaward Development and the current owner, Mark Kauffman, that building is likely to pose a safety threat due to rapid deterioration.
The building is comprised of two buildings. A bridge connects the south side building to the north side. Karins sent a letter to Kauffman that recommended that the north side be inspected every three days. Murphy’s email indicates that the issues are affecting the south section of the building as well.
“I know that the intent is to prepare a detailed report for the entire building as most of the investigation to date has been focused on the north side,” Murphy wrote. “You had stated and I would concur that the south building will most likely uncover the same conditions as it relates to undersized foundations, termite damage, wood rot and lack of plywood to account for wind loading.”
The report and photos from Karins were reviewed by a well-respected Sarasota-based building expert who stated this is “some of the worst wood rot I have ever seen. This building should be condemned.”
Seaward has been a tenant in Mira Mar for five years. In a statement the company indicated “we are anxiously awaiting the 72-hour update from Karins Engineering that should come in today and then again on Saturday to see if it’s safe to continue being a tenant.”
Their plan is to construct a 10-story residential/retail building, which would include 70 residential units. Seaward’s vision is to have two floors of retail space with frontage along Palm Avenue. In keeping with the original look and design of the property, the residential space will be set back behind the commercial space.
They have not abandoned their plan “Our offer stands to be part of (the) solution here and work with the historical community to continue to maintain the charm and character of the building and build a truer historical example of the original building in the 1920s,” Matthew Leake, Seaward’s president, says in a statement.