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Owners of condos in new Roslindale building sue developer over what they say are leaks, noises, smells and other problems

1400 Centre St.

The building, missing the street trees and level concrete sidewalk the developer promised the city.

The owners of residential condos in a three-year-old building at Centre and Weld streets in Roslindale today sued the developer and project manager, accusing them of handing them a building with at least $2.3 million worth of problems, including a leaky roof, uninsulated pipes, non-functioning sump and hallway ventilation systems, a cracked retaining wall and rear foundation, a smelly lobby and such poor sound insulation residents say they feel like they're in the condos of their upstairs neighbors.

In their lawsuit, the owners of the 16 residential units say developer John Sullivan and project manager Gary Martell also never installed some exterior features that were promised in their filings to win BPDA approval, specifically, planters for street trees, a level sidewalk made of concrete and the continuation of a stone wall along Weld Street.

The unit owners say Sullivan and Martell have only tried to fix the inadequate sound insulation and that their effort failed. They say a sound engineer they hired found the insulation met neither industry standards nor even the developer's own construction drawings. This past October, Sullivan and Martell proposed installing "puddy pads," material designed to absorb sounds and outfitted one unit with the material but a followup inspection by the sound engineer showed "this proposed solution completely failed.

The complaint cites myriad other problems from top to bottom and everything in between, which the owners say was chronicled by a separate civil engineer they hired, most recently: During a recent storm, several units "experienced significant water intrusion due to what is suspected to be a defect in the Condominium building roof," which the owners say is missing gutters, downspouts and an ice-melting system.

The parking garage door, meanwhile, has never functioned properly and the garage remains home to several concrete blocks that were supposed to be placed in an exterior parking lot, but weren't. And while space for a sump pump was excavated, the pump itself was never installed, which could mean flooding because of the height difference between the building pipes and the city sewer, they say.

Also never installed: A planned ventilation system for the trash room , which results in "a very strong smell emanating from the unventilated trash room constantly permeates the building entrance above." The trash room is also missing a "fire smoke damper" despite its presence in construction documents.

In between the roof and the lower level, the condo owners charge, are a myriad of additional problems, including wall gaps that should have been caulked or otherwise sealed, interior holes cut in walls for wiring, pipes and ductwork were not properly fireproofed, an electrical system to power corridor ventilation remains uninstalled, as does a heating system designed to keep basement and first-floor sprinkler pipes from freezing and bursting, and other water pipes are uninsulated .

Also, the owners claim, the exhausts for second- and third-floor bathrooms and kitchens were placed less than three feet from windows.

The cracks in the rear retaining wall, the suit says, are near the top - where they will be prone to collect rainwater that will then freeze on cold days, making them grow ever larger.

Sullivan and Martell have until May 16 to file an answer, according to the case docket.

Building proposal filed with the BPDA.

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PDF icon Complete complaint647.7 KB


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Comments

Given all those horrific problems, how could an honest building inspector have possibly given final approval for this nightmare of a building?

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How did this get a CO never mind pass all the other rough and final inspections?

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During Covid I’m not surprised.

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I feel for these folks…I’ve long wondered why the street level area was never finished…it’s difficult to navigate if you’re a pedestrian with mobility issues. I. Sorry to hear about all of these problems inside.

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ISD, BPDA, ONS, MBTA are all D-U-M-B. Remember ISD also didn't do much to keep this destruction from taking place: https://www.universalhub.com/2023/owner-building-charles-street-beacon-h...

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I wouldn't necessarily blame the city for this. Projects 3 units and above are required to involve a licensed architect and licensed engineers. At the end of the project, they are supposed to sign affidavits saying that the work is up to snuff and submit to ISD in order to get an occupancy permit.

On larger projects, there is no way for the city inspector to inspect every corner of the building and catch all the flaws. That system works reasonably well most of the time on the other buildings we never hear about.

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I guess maybe a few architects and engineers should be looking for a new line of work. If they signed affidavits to the ISD that were false, the ISD shouldn't accept their affidavits anymore.

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ISD visited the site in person at least once, right?

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On a bright side, after the owners fix this, they will be eligible for free museum passes.

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and if they don't like it so much, why don't they just move?

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It is condos that they own. Do you really think it would be that easy to sell a condo in a crappy building like that, then find a new place?
You also missed the point. The point is that the builders did not do what they were supposed to do.

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.

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At Marina Bay. And I imagine more developments will run into the same issue. These five over one cookie cutter complexes are built with shoddy material and poor labor. People don’t move because moving is expensive and cumbersome and where exactly do you go?

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Because the owners are quite frankly probably underwater. I remember when that big condo tower off the J-Way was found to have a ton of issues and between the HOA fee and the special assessment fees to fix everything wrong, the monthly costs were something like 1200$ a month in building fees, and there were SO MANY units going up for sale and not moving at all. 1-2 bedroom units in JP for 300k not moving.

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Selling a home with these kinds of problems (and publicity about them) isn't going to be easy. On top of that, selling a home has its own costs.

The builder should live up to their obligations and requirements.

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Fix the building according to what he said, or never get a permit in Massachusetts again.

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At least you recognize a decent one liner when you see one, even if you fumble when using it yourself. Keep at it.

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Move, and sell it to whom?

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When we were purchasing our renovated Victorian in JP from Gary Martell about 20 years ago, we found (before negotiation) that the basement was flooding each storm and they were quietly pumping it out without telling the realtor. Luckily, that led to (mostly) fixing the problem and $10k price reduction.

We later found they installed an old AC unit rather than a new one after the last inspection and used a downspout pipe rather than an air duct to vent the first floor bath. The outside windows frames were rotting and we had to repaint the exterior within two years.

It was a lovely house, though, mostly thanks to late 1800's era craftsmanship.

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What happened to that 15K?

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Good bones will carry a house through a lot of shitty work and neglect. Part of the issue with these new buildings is the basic structure of the buildings are pretty bare bones to begin with, particle board and 1.25x3.25s, maybe some concrete brick around the elevator and that's it. So when water and time and issues arise, nothing else can compensate and it becomes very run down very fast.

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Two things…

Gary Martell. What a surprise.

Rwgfy will never get over the fact he lost the last mayoral election. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. LOL.

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That sidewalk is a crying shame. Developers like this should not be allowed to start a new project until the old cuts the mustard.

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The thing I don't get about cases like this: did the builder think that the people living there just would never notice that this building is (allegedly) crap?

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He seemed like a nice guy; I would hate to think that he’s dishonest.

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This is going to be endemic in a few years. SOO many of these buildings are going up, absolutely slapdash, not even following their own submitted plans to shave costs and cut corners. House flipper level quality from the ground up.

You cannot achieve density when people who do buy into density have nothing but horror stories. Functional density, density people actually want to live in, requires not hearing every time your neighbor takes a shit.

"Sullivan and Martell proposed installing "puddy pads," material designed to absorb sounds"

Puddy Pads are designed to go around outlets, junction boxes, etc, as a supplement to a noise cancelling system. They are not remotely a solution to generalized sound problems. They are however super cheap and require no demo or repair. Idiots.

The city HAS to start monitoring these guys. Actual inspections where the approved plans are compared to the building going up and work has to stop until these removed features are fixed. Issues with water, drainage, etc, also effect the building's neighbors. Missing fire safety systems are a danger to the whole neighborhood. Stop enabling developers to cheap the fuck out once they get through the insane zoning process and redirect some of that energy to making sure the buildings going up are livable goddamn buildings.

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Wow Martell gets around. I knew I remembered his name from last year. Now another one?

https://www.universalhub.com/2023/developers-check-briefly-takes-center-...

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or were their eyes glazed over by the crown molding?

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of substandard developments throughout the City, but few can afford to sue.

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I recall (from uHub) that the biggest gripe about this development as it was being vetted was that the tenants would be causing the neighbors unrelenting annoyance with the noise from their roof deck. I bet those neighbors are gloating today.

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