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Sarasota business crumbling next to 'The Mark' construction project

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - One Sarasota business owner is watching her building crumble as construction on an eleven story condominium surrounding the business continues.

Construction on The Mark project started in May, and since then, Malbi Italian Artisan Decor has seen significant damage to its building. The future Mark condominium residences are being built on all sides of Malbi Decor. The owners of the shop have paperwork to prove that the foundation of this building was fine until construction on this project began.

Four years ago Maria Alberta Borri and her husband brought their business to Sarasota and moved in downtown.

"Unfortunately in October, we started to have problems with our neighbors, The Mark," Borri says.

It started with a crack on the floor that just keeps getting bigger, Borri said. Then cracks formed on the walls, and now the bathroom door barely opens because the foundation isn't level anymore.

"They said, don't worry we will fix the crack, but we aren't asking them to fix the crack," Borri says. "We can fix the crack. We want to know what they did."

Borri is worried about the structural soundness of the building moving forward. She doesn't want to see new cracks in years to come.

According to an engineering report, paid for by Borri, the exterior walls of the building were chemically grouted to allow excavation adjacent to the walls. While that's a common method in the industry, that's what Borri feels caused the unstable foundation.

"We want to make sure that we don't lose the building," Borri says. "It was a big investment for us."

Borri says she hasn't had any cooperation from the Kolter Company, that owns The Mark property.

She wants them to check the structural soundness of her property, and reimburse her for the attorney and engineering fees she's paid, along with any repairs that are necessary.

The Mark's project manager David Ament released the following statement: 

"We are aware of Mrs. Borri's issues regarding her property, and we are working with the City of Sarasota, Mrs. Borri, engineers, and other professionals to investigate the situation and ensure the protection of her property during our construction."

The City of Sarasota says its building code official is monitoring the issue.