THA fires contractor on Tempo apartments

- Construction, and a waiting list of 9,000 potential residents, has been put on hold at a new downtown Tampa apartment complex.

Earlier this month, the Tampa Housing Authority fired the Siltek Group, its general contractor based out of Plantation.

Siltek was is the process of constructing "The Tempo," a nearly $26 million apartment complex set to become the fourth building in the Encore community.

"Siltek just did not display the ability to continue to provide quality work without our constant oversight," said Leroy Moore, senior vice president of the Tampa Housing Authority (THA).

According to Moore, Siltek cost the city additional time and money with mistakes in the sequencing of construction - one instance involving the parking garage of the seven-story building. Moore described smaller missteps, as well, that would require workers to redo parts of the project.

"You don't paint a building before you seal up all the holes," said Moore. "We spent a lot of money and a lot of time hiring people to actually follow behind Siltek, inspecting, and even trying to assist them with the order of their work."

Some subcontractors even complained they were not paid, or were not paid on time.

After a year and half of issues, Moore said the THA felt it was best to remove Siltek from the project, which is currently between 70- and 80-percent complete. The THA is taking legal action against the firm as the search begins for a new contractor.

Out of the $26 million budget, there is about $8 million remaining for a new contractor to finish the job, according to Moore. The THA has a full performance and payment bond on the project, so if costs surpass the original budget, the project will still be covered.

As the THA searches for a contractor, anxious residents are left in limbo.

"They say, 'Why can't I just move in? It looks like it's finished, because the building is painted.' Well, interior floors are not in, all the plumbing is not in, the building is not air tight," described Moore.

The Tempo, scheduled to be move-in ready by September, is now expected to open in the spring of 2017. The complex will offer 203 units, of which 122 have been designated for low-income residents. The THA has received more than 9,000 applications for residence.

"The end-result is more disappointment down the line with residents who are trying to schedule their life, trying to schedule a move-in date, and us having to continually push out the move-in dates," said Moore.

FOX 13 News reached out to the Siltek Group for comment, but has not yet received a response.

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