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Marathon orders tenants out of apartment building after engineer finds it unsafe

An image of Mariners Place in Marathon
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The city of Marathon ordered residents to leave Mariners Place after an engineer found the building was unsafe.

The city of Marathon has ordered all tenants to move out of a 16-unit apartment building called Mariners Place.

An engineer found that the building was not safe for the people who live there.

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Marathon passed a law in January that requires all multi-story buildings 17 years and older to be recertified. Property owners have to hire state certified structural engineers and file a report to the city.

The engineer's report said that concrete beams, columns, walls and slabs in the building showed "widespread cracking and spalling." Spalling happens when the iron reinforcement bars inside of concrete are exposed to saltwater and rust, expanding and weakening the concrete.

An electrical engineer also found the building's electrical systems have had "little no or very little maintenance throughout the years" and recommended an "overhaul" of the electrical system.

According to records from the Monroe County Property Appraiser's Office, the building at 20 Coco Plum Drive was originally built in 1978, with an "effective year built" in 1992. That term applies when buildings are significantly renovated.

It was last sold in 2008 for $1.6 million. Its current taxable value is $1.5 million.

The building's owner, Carlos Berdeal, said Friday he is working with the Monroe County Housing Authority to try to help the building's tenants find places to live. The city on Thursday gave Berdeal 15 days to have the building evacuated.

"These are people who have been living there for many years. We feel for them," he said. "We really don't want to see them go. We just want to try to get it resolved as soon as possible."

Berdeal said he had already sent out bid requests to different contractors for the structural and electrical repairs and was waiting to get quotes from them. He said he did not yet know what the timeline would be for repairs.

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Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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