CLEARWATER, Fla. - From a distance, it looks like a normal building. Until you move closer.
"You get close and you see what it really is. And it looks like a skeleton building," said Jackie Henegar.
The Strand, a thirteen-story luxury condominium and upscale retail complex on Cleveland Street halted construction back in January of this year; and the building sits vacant.
"This has just, in my opinion, been a total embarrassment to the City of Clearwater," said Wayne Carothers.
Carothers is a longtime Clearwater resident and businessman. He also sits on the seven-person Municipal Code Enforcement Board made up of citizens.
Yesterday, when the attorney for the Miami-based developer, asked for 12 more months to fix the nuisance and abandonment violations, the board gave them six.
"Here we are, we're just standing inches away from it. It's wide open here, anybody can access this. This is so pathetic. I'm appalled as a citizen to see this like this," explained Carothers, pointing to huge gapes in the concrete walls that allow entry.
Sebastian Dorner owns the building next door that's being made into retail and business space. He says the building is more than just an eyesore.
"In the morning, the homeless people live in this building here, at about 7 o'clock, 7:30, 8 o'clock you come here you see a flock of people walking out," Dorner said, referring to the homeless he sees almost daily.
Across the street, Henegar can only look with frustration at the building. Her family business has been here for more than sixty years.
"I think something should be done with it; tear it down, finish it, something," Henegar remarked.
Having spent millions to improve Cleveland Street, the city wants a solution to this problem.
Joelle Castelli, spokesperson for the City of Clearwater is hopeful the board's action will create some movement.
"We're constantly in communication with them. This is I think a first step in getting some positive action out of them," Castelli said.
Fines of $250 per day for each of the two violations will begin on April 24, 2013 if the owners fail to comply.
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