An air quality report at Northwood Centre highlighted issues that concerned mold, toxins, and even bat guano at the office complex, which was once a mall.
The report detailed the findings of environmental consultants who were hired to test the air quality at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s offices in Northwood. Geosynetic Consultants toxicologist David Krause performed testing over the span of several days.
The report states that active mold growth was discovered throughout the heating and air conditioning system of the building and that bacterial endotoxins were found in the carpeting. The report also noted that while PCBs, which can cause cancer, were not detected in most of the suites, one sample that was collected did find a specific PCB at levels that were below health-based risk values.
The report, which cost more than $50,000, stated that preventative maintenance at Northwood did not keep mold from growing within the building’s HVAC systems.
“The prevalence, extent, and severity of contamination due to active mold growth within air handling units and supply ducts serving the DBPR leased offices placed all occupants at risk of exposure to fungal bioaerosols, potentially endangering susceptible individuals with pre-existing health conditions,” the report stated.
A principal with Northwood Associates’ parent company and owns the property, Stuart Silberberg, issued a statement that said extensive testing of the entire building found that the air quality in the building does not pose potential risks to the public.
“We have already begun the appropriate maintenance recommended by our environmental consultant and will eventually expand the scope of that maintenance to the remainder of the property,” Silberberg said. “We are confident that Northwood will soon be considered one of the most desirable properties in the Tallahassee market.”
State lawmakers pulled funding for all state agency leases, just as the legislative session was ending and at about the same time significant amounts of bat guano were discovered in the ceiling above Ken Lawson’s desk, the DBPR Secretary.
The pulled funding by lawmakers forced 1,500 state employees to be relocated from Northwood to other office buildings. It also spurred the owners of Northwood to take legal action against the state, saying that they planned a “scheme” so that the state could get out of its leases. DBPR filed a lawsuit against Northwood, claiming that it was forced to move out of the building as a result of health concerns.
Lawson released a statement in which he defended the move of the agency from Northwood. He said that the health and safety of the employees of DBPR is the top priority of the agency.
More than 300 individuals are suing Northwood Centre regarding problems that included water intrusion, bat feces, raw sewage, and leaking roofs. The individuals claim that the owners and managers knew about the conditions in the building and attempted to cover it up. They settled for an undisclosed amount of money.
Mold Inspection & Testing Tallahassee has years of experience performing mold assessments in the city and surrounding areas. We suggest Northwood Centre arrange for regular mold testing from a reputable company. To speak with a representative of MI&T, call 850.629.0119.