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Monday, Sep 24, 2018
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Reopening date still elusive for Palace Grand facility

SPRING HILL — Palace Grand, an upscale event facility closed in 2016 because of sinkhole activity beneath the structure, remains shuttered. A reopening date remains elusive.

Originally advertised as a "luxurious" setting for weddings, corporate events and social functions, the interior is in shambles, with ground-stabilizing steel pilings driven through the building’s floor and foundation, said business manager Jennifer Marasciullo Cavaliere.

Inside are a grand lobby and ballroom with a stage, a smaller lobby and cozier second floor, plus a kitchen. The building is rated for an occupancy of 600 persons.

After cracks appeared in the walls two years ago, a Hernando County building inspection led to a posting on the building: "structure seriously damaged and unsafe to occupy."

Owners Thomas and Victoria Marasciullo engaged Structural Engineering & Inspections of Tampa to deal with the problem, which required installing underpinnings, filling the hole with specialized grout and compacting the ground.

Hernando County building department official Tony Bryan confirmed the condemnation posting has been lifted. But the building still needs "tremendous" cosmetic repairs, Cavaliere reported. Also, "because the building sat (closed) so long, we have a black mold issue in there," she said recently.

The building’s insurer, Lloyds of London, approved the sinkhole repair.

The owners have a claim pending, said Erin Dunnavant with the Merlin Law Group hired by the Marasciullos to handle the matter.

"The aim is to put the (building) back to its pre-loss condition," Dunnavant said.

"The goal is to resolve this without litigation," added Craig Kubiak, managing partner of Merlin Law. "If we get to the point where we just can’t resolve it, we get to the point of litigation." Kubiak noted Lloyds of London is represented by counsel in Tampa.

A representative of Lloyds of London could not be contacted.

"We do not have a good timeline" for settling the issue settlement and reopening the building, Dunnavant said.

Cavaliere agreed.

"We’ve put our lives into building that business," she said. "It is heartbreaking."

None of the involved parties would put a price tag on the cost of work done or yet to be undertaken.

The Palace Grand hosted its first event, a wedding, in November 2001. The Marasciullos took over the property in 2011.

Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]

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