Wednesday, November 23, 2016

No Disney Magic In Company-Built Central Florida Theme Town As HOA Seeks Upward Of $15 Million To Fix Leaky Roofs, Deteriorating Balconies, Moldy Walls; Long-Time Resident: "We Bought Cabins On The Titanic!"

In Celebration, Florida, The Wall Street Journal reports:
  • In November, 1996, Walt Disney Co. unveiled the nation’s first Disney-built theme town, an 11-square-mile enclave near the Magic Kingdom designed to be a modern-day suburban Utopia. Homes the color of orange sherbet and buttercream frosting were graced with picket fences and Southern-style porches, intended to create an old-fashioned sense of community.

    Celebration, as it was called, was the outgrowth of a fantasy dreamed up by Walt Disney himself.

    As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, some of Celebration’s residents aren’t doing much celebrating. Condominium owners say they are battling leaky roofs, balconies that have become separated from the sides of buildings and mold spreading in their walls. Their properties have become so dilapidated, they say, they’re having trouble selling them.

    We bought cabins on the Titanic,” said Cookie Kelly, 73 years old, who has lived in Celebration since 1998.

    In a civil suit filed in April, the condo owners’ association is seeking to force Lexin Capital, which took control of part of Celebration in 2004, to pay for upward of $15 million to $20 million in repairs.
    ***
    Disney said it owned the buildings in the town center for about eight years and didn’t experience structural problems. The company said it hadn’t had responsibility for maintenance since the sale.

    Disney still retains some input into the aesthetics of the town—exterior paint colors, roof tiles, the style of front porches—but little direct control over maintenance. Still, residents said they believe Disney should step in because the neglect is destroying the town’s charming look.

    “There’s nothing more insulting with the 20th anniversary…than to parade people through, whitewash the front of the buildings, put lipstick on a pig,” said Laurel Rousseau, the condo board president. “Meanwhile we have condos we can’t sell.”
For more, see Leaks and Mold Are Ruining the Disney Magic in Celebration, Florida (may require subscription; if no subscription, GO HERE, then click the appropriate link for the story).

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