(WSVN) - Most of us try to avoid construction sites, but imagine living right in the middle of one. That is the reality for one Coral Gables man. The Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek investigates.
Step outside Orlando Capote’s front door, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of the biggest development in Coral Gables’ history.
Kevin Ozebek: “Do you enjoy living here anymore?”
Orlando Capote, homeowner: “Not as much.”
It’s so loud, talking to Orlando isn’t always easy.
Kevin Ozebek: “That is why we wanted to meet you here, so we can see what it is actually like.”
The 7 Investigates team first met Orlando three years ago. Back then, the land next door was being cleared.
Now, Orlando’s home is completely surrounded by high rise buildings.
Kevin Ozebek: “Do you ever foresee yourself selling this home and leaving?”
Orlando Capote: “It’s not in my plans.”
Orlando is staying put even though this massive complex of condos, offices and shops called The Plaza Coral Gables is being built around him.
Orlando Capote: “Here’s some of the debris.”
Orlando says construction debris often falls into his yard, and the section of road right in front of his home is closed because of the construction.
The only way to his home is this back alley, which construction workers quickly cleared for us when we paid Orlando a visit.
Dwight Hobbs, construction worker: “The city comes here every morning and sits right there and watch us and make sure he gets out without nothing in his way before we work.”
Kevin Ozebek: “Every day?”
Dwight Hobbs: “The city come here every day.”
Dwight Hobbs is one of the construction workers here. He says this alley is clear of crews and materials when Orlando leaves for work in the morning and when he comes home in the afternoon.
Dwight Hobbs: “We have to work around his schedule.”
But Orlando’s main beef is not with the crews, it’s with Coral Gables.
He believes the city allowed the new construction to be built too high and too close to his home, but the city tells 7 Investigates, “No laws have been broken, and the fire code has not been violated,” and “When he decided not to sell, he was also offered the opportunity to relocate … He should have understood what that would mean and the inconveniences that it could result in.”
Kevin Ozebek: “You were offered a million to leave?”
Orlando Capote: “Along those lines.”
Orlando tells us he turned down around 40 offers.
Orlando Capote: “There is a sentimental side to this, which I don’t want to get into because I’ll fall apart.”
For years, Orlando lived in the home with his mother, who has passed since our original story. She and her late husband bought the house in 1989 after moving from Cuba.
Orlando Capote: “I do not want to sell. This is our home. This has been our home for over 30 years.”
And in those 30 years, Orlando has seen the neighboring homes be bought and bulldozed by developers one by one, leaving his the last home standing.
We did reach out the developers of The Plaza Coral Gables for comment, but our messages were not returned.
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