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Condos closed to renters after growing concerns following inspection

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 7:38 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Whether it’s your home or a vacation rental, you want to know where you are staying is safe.

More than a month after the Surfside Condo collapse in Miami, one local building was inspected. The Pelican Watch condo building in Carolina Beach was deemed structurally sound, but inspectors noticed corrosion on the stairs, deeming the stairway unsafe.

“The building itself was fine, there was no structural issues there, but the steps — they did find some corrosion,” said Jeremy Hardison, Planning Director for the Town of Carolina Beach.

“Levels of corrosion and deterioration at the exterior egress stairways to a level that the stairs would not be able to safely support the North Carolina State Building Code required loads,” noted SKA Consulting Engineers, Inc. in a letter to the Pelican Watch Homeowner’s Association.

Corrosion found on stairway at Pelican Watch.
Corrosion found on stairway at Pelican Watch.(SKA Consulting Engineers, Inc. )

Town officials say the HOA for Pelican Watch decided to not allow renters for the time being. That news was delivered just hours before the Oliver family was set to leave home in West Virginia.

“Oh I was mad, I was pretty mad. My kids were very upset,” said Brian Oliver, who was supposed to stay at Pelican Watch. “That we can not stay there, and that they were cancelling our reservation, and that was the end of it. So we had to scour for about four hours to find a new place — that was a little hard to do.”

While they scrambled to change their vacation plans, the Olivers and town officials are glad that safety is a priority. “We support their decision, they’re taking proactive measures to make sure their building is safe,” said Hardison.

Even though the Olivers weren’t able to stay at Pelican Watch this year, they say that they will come back in the future once permanent repairs are made.

Pelican Watch stairway.
Pelican Watch stairway.(SKA Consulting Engineers, Inc. )

Also in the letter SKA said, “It is our opinion and recommendation that temporary egress stairs be installed outboard of the main building structure for use by occupants and emergency personnel in the event of an emergency, and the deteriorated stairs be removed and replaced with new, structurally sound permanent stairs.” The engineers have contacted local companies for assistance with supplies and construction of the temporary stairs.

It is important to note that the 12-story building still has an operating elevator.

Pelican Watch stairway corrosion.
Pelican Watch stairway corrosion.(SKA Consulting Engineers, Inc. )

There is no word on the cost or timeline of these permanent repairs. The Pelican Watch HOA is working closely with the engineers to ensure repairs are made in a safe, timely manner.

Stairway at Pelican Watch.
Stairway at Pelican Watch.(SKA Consulting Engineers, Inc. )

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