Surfside, Florida — When the Champlain Towers South collapsed in Florida this summer, intolerable grief absorbed Anabella Levine, her beloved brother and three cousins while she spent the night. Buried in the rubble of the building. It took an unbearable 18 days to identify some of the bodies.
What she didn’t expect—that she and her cousin consumed much of her recent days, despite suffering from the tremendous sorrow of her family—was their happiest childhood. It was a battle with the surfside town, a seaside excursion where I spent some of my time.
Their battle goes beyond the inevitable question that follows the tragedy that killed 98 people: what to do where such horror took place? But unlike other disasters, surfside land is worth tens of millions of dollars and is important to the economic future of some survivors.
Levine, his relatives, and the families of the other victims, like the 9/11 Memorial in New York, argue that the site must, at least in part, be a monument to the dead. The debris of the Champlan Tower has been cleaned up for a long time, but many find the dead ground to be sacred.
However, the 8777 Collins Avenue plot is close to two acres on a beach in South Florida, where waterfront real estate is scarce, and developers are driving the economy and a market for luxury condos that promise Florida’s dream lifestyle. Seems to be insatiable. For many who live in a building and have lost almost everything they own, lucrative real estate transactions seem to be the best hope of substantial compensation.
The debate over the fate of parcels revealed the conflicting interests between the families of lost victims and the lost survivors in the June 24 collapse. And it aroused raw emotions and threatened to divide the surfside. Surfside is a recent history of low-floor buildings that resisted aggressive redevelopment that brought huge glittering towers to towns near Miami Beach and Sunny Isles Beach.
“We all knew each other,” Levine said. “I see all the pictures of the dead people, and they are all the people I saw in my pool. I know 98 people died in just one day.”
The issue is not only what will be built on the land, but also its size as town leaders are pushing to rewrite the zoning law to limit the scale of future construction. It has become. As is often the case in Florida in an effort to make Champlain Towers residents financially complete, some see the impact of developers looking for profit.
The judge, who oversees many legal claims regarding the collapse, said the sale of land must be swift in order to give the residents of Champlain Towers the maximum possible payment. Private bidders are ready to offer $ 120 million to real estate, according to a broker appointed by a court dealing with real estate transactions. Insurance could pay an additional $ 48 million.
The cause of the collapse is still unknown, and at least there is still no third party with the financial resources to sue it, but Judge Michael A. Handsman of the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court said the total funding was far short. rice field. Appropriate compensation. Due to the deaths of so many people, local newspapers continue to publish obituaries three months later.
The judge revealed that the possibility of turning the entire site into a public monument, as some residents and community members wanted, was against economic reality. The local government could not afford to buy the parcel at the market price. To maintain part of the monument, you need to convince the majority of Champlain Towers condo owners to accept a small payment. This is a delicate request that can cause conflicts between neighbors.
The city of Miami Beach, adjacent to the surfside, just south of where Champlan Towers South once stood, provided space for the monument in a nearby park. But Levine, her relatives, and the families of other victims who filled the Surfside City Hall last week said they could only do where the building collapsed. They say the new flashy skyscrapers out there will be intolerable.
Levine lost his brother Andres Levine. Cousins Moises Rodan and Luis Sadovnic, both 28 years old. Sadobnick’s wife, Nicky Langesfeld, 26 years old.
Levine’s sister-in-law, Vicky Bethesh, who became a widow while confirming a hotel reservation for her honeymoon, said sobbing. “Help us find a way so that I don’t have to drive that place and see the building erase what is the greatest tragedy of my life.”
Some residents feel betrayed by politicians who have promised lasting support in the days following the collapse. The families of several victims turned a lot of anger at the town commissioner who rejected the idea of land exchange with the surfside community center, and the developers built a new skyscraper on the community center site and champagne. Centers and monuments that made it possible to dedicate the tower site to a new community.
Frequently Asked Questions
It can take months for investigators to pinpoint why a significant portion of a building in Surfside, Florida has collapsed. However, there are already some clues as to the potential reasons for the disaster, such as design and construction flaws. Three years before the collapse, consultants found evidence of “serious structural damage” to the concrete slabs under the pool deck and “massive” cracks and collapses in the columns, beams and walls of the parking garage. Did. Engineers who visited the wreckage and looked at the photos said that the damaged columns at the base of the building could have less rebar than originally planned.
Condominium boards and homeowners’ associations often struggle to convince residents to pay for the necessary repairs, and most Champlain Towers South board members are in 2019 due to frustration. Resigned to. In April, the new president informed residents that the condition of the building had “significantly deteriorated” over the past few years, with construction costs $ 15 million instead of $ 9 million. There were also complaints from residents that the construction of a huge residential tower designed by Renzo Piano next door was shaking Champlan Towers South.
The entire family died in a collapse that occurred in the middle of the night when people were sleeping. For example, the parents and children killed in Unit 802 were rock band Kiss and Marcus Joseph Guara, 52, a fan of the University of Miami Hurricanes. Anaeri Rodriguez, 42, with tango and salsa dance. 11-year-old Lucia Guara found astronomy and outer space fascinating. And Emma Guara, 4 years old, who loved the world of princesses. Looking at the victims floor by floor shows the degree of devastation.
Levine and the rest of the family suggested that it was a viable compromise. However, one of the commissioners, Eliana R. Salshauer, called this concept “delusional.” This is because the community center site, about 5 blocks north of the Champlan Tower, is in the center of town and is a key to quality of life.
At the committee meeting on Tuesday, so many people gathered and some had to look from the lobby downstairs, but the committee’s previous comments infuriated many families. However, Salshauer argued that his anger at the town officials was irrelevant. Most commissioners want a monument on the premises, but the town can’t afford the land and the fate of the property is ultimately in the hands of the condo owner and the court. Not on the surf side.
In any case, the community center should be off limits, a majority of commissioners and a series of residents said.
In an interview, Salshauer said lawyers in the Champlan Towers case were often represented …