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HOME | October Restoration Report #3 Starlight Tower

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October Restoration Report #3 - Starlight Tower 

Starlight Tower, Inc.
7000 Beach Plaza
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

October 2008

What a summer this has been! We have successfully dodged hurricanes (although worried through one near-miss) but have had our share of driving rains and thunderstorms. As we have passed the half way point in this project, we have suffered some delays but have made significant progress. Since winter plans are needing to be made, I’ll open this report with the TIMELINE and let you know what can be expected in the months ahead.

Project Timeline: Our construction and asbestos teams have continued work throughout the summer, even though the frequent storms and ‘high wind’ days kept them off the swing stages more than anyone liked. The only ‘official’ delay days logged to date include 5 days for the demobilization and remobilization required at the approach of Hurricane Fay and 5 days allowed for the company to take on the additional task of removing the unsightly, unused large water pipe that ran the length of the overhead 8th floor walkway. The current estimated date of completion is now early January, 2009.

For those wondering at what point it would be ‘safe’ to come back to sunny Florida, the only limitation (other than noise) is when the walkway surfaces are poured on each floor. The current plan is to do this towards the end of the project, after the painting is done on the East side. When the walkways are poured on your floor, there can be no foot traffic for a period of FOUR DAYS. If the current timeline is maintained, this would be occurring in December. Exact dates per floor can not be determined at this time.

In order to ensure that as much as possible is completed on the East (street) side in preparation for your return, we have modified the original West (gulf) side plan, as follows.

West (Gulf) side:
As reported previously, the West side work is done by ‘stack’ (e.g. all the ’08 units) since it requires a swing stage to be suspended from the roof for each group. To date, the stacks completed are: ’06 –’08 and ’01, with the ‘02’s currently in progress. Rather than allowing these work teams to continue, we will be shifting both teams (and the swing stages) to work on the East side once the ’02 stack is done. The teams will shift back to the West side to complete the ’03 – ’05 stacks once the East side is completed.

With this plan, we will have addressed all the “open balconies”, with the exception of 203-205, which are over the “open area overhangs” outside the lobby and pool bathrooms, and can be sounded and evaluated for damage via ladder. With the exception of 907, the open balconies and surrounding areas have proven to require the most repairs, other than the 1st floor knee walls.

So if your unit is in any of the ‘completed’ stacks and you have not been notified of the need to remove windows and/or shutters, your unit is OK.

“Completed stacks” have had all of the following done: asbestos removed, soundings for damage, damaged areas repaired, cracks/holes repaired, sealing around windows and/or shutters done and painting completed. In addition, per contract and to protect the integrity of the building, all open balconies will have their floor covering (if any) removed, sloping for water drainage installed and waterproof coating applied to the floor.

Summary of damage found by stack:
  • ‘08’ Stack: required window removal from 2 units (one of which also required shutter removal) to effect repairs to the building wall. Also damage to the knee wall of unit 108 was found.

  • ‘07’ Stack: Only unit 107 required window & shutter removal, again related to severe damage of the knee wall (as with 108, probably related to previous 1st floor flooding). Inspection of our first “open balcony” (907) showed that both it and the unit below (807) were structurally intact and did not require repair.

  • ‘06’ Stack: Severe damage found in balcony of 806 necessitated repairs through the floor of 906 and ceiling of 706. Open balcony of 206 was ok, but Unit 106 beneath required extensive repairs above the window area. No window/shutter removal required for any of these units.

  • ’01 Stack: Knee wall of 101 required rebuilding w/removal of windows. Damage was also found in unit 701, but repairs made w/o window removal.
  • '02 Stack: Knee wall of 102 required rebuilding w/removal of windows. Exam of balcony of 902 (and 802 below) is not showing any major damage. Although evaluation and work on this stack is in process, no other major issues have been found to date.

East side:
  • Asbestos removal (abatement) completed on all floors..

  • REPAIRS for walkway joists is complete on the 9th and 10th floors, with 8th floor in process. Thanks to a challenge by our Engineer to the Cathodic Protection company, an improved installation process has been identified that will allow joist repairs to proceed at a speedier rate on the remaining floors.
  • Cathodic protection system: installation is occurring as the joists are repaired.
  • Elevator Tower (shear wall): a risk of concrete delamination (potential for large chunks of material to fall from the Tower) requires evaluation of the structural integrity of the Tower. A swing stage has been erected on the Tower and the soundings and asbestos removal (where needed) is underway.

Other Issues:
  • Water, Water, Everywhere: much time and effort has been spent in evaluating potential water flow issues, both on the walkways and open balconies AND the leaks reported within the units.
    • Walkways: a professional survey of the integrity of the current walkway drain system found the drains are intact and able to handle the walkway drainage. Therefore, the sloping to be applied will route the water towards these drains. The costs for this approach were budgeted ($14,000) and saves us about $85,000 – which would be the cost to revise the plan and re-slope and route the water out through the knee wall scuppers (drainage holes). Good News!
    • Open Balconies: all will have open scuppers and sloping to best meet drainage needs while still keeping the floor as level as possible.
    • NEW ! For those suffering with balcony leaks not related to the window areas, a potential cause was identified -- the old ‘balcony drain’ system! These drains go through each balcony from the rooftop and while they may have been viable when first constructed and all the balconies were open, (with open scuppers) they are now seen as a possible problem. This relates both to the large volume of water flowing from the roof and the number of folks who have closed off or tiled over the drains in their units (which changes the pressure gradients). As a result, the Board is going to have a professional evaluation of the roof done, to include options for rerouting the rooftop water off the building and closing off those drains (allowing only water from balconies to drain).
    • This evaluation of the rooftop will also determine the scope of damage and how much work will be required to repair and reseal. We had hoped to be able to postpone extensive roof repairs and just do ‘patches’ after the swing stages are removed, so will have to see what the report shows to identify our next steps.

In short, we’re making progress and are looking forward to the final, finished product!

~~ Lynn Dopp

Molon Lave Semper Fidelis
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Co-op's Physical Address: 7000 Beach Plaza, St Pete Beach, Florida 33706 Office Tel: 727-360-8820