The lights are still dark at Eighty Seven Park, the luxury tower next to the Surfside collapse site, more than a month after the tragedy killed nearly 100 people. Condos remain closed to residents during testing tied to the safety of the structure and air quality, sources told The Real Deal.
That portion of Collins Avenue is also still blocked to the public due to concerns that the foundation walls of the Champlain tower could crumble or shift, putting the major thoroughfare at risk of also collapsing.
Structural engineer Allyn Kilsheimer, who was hired by the town of Surfside to consult on the causes of the Champlain Towers South collapse, warned that if Champlain’s foundation wall were to collapse or shift into the basement, the soil under the street and sidewalk could move with it. That “could cause portions of the street to collapse and could seriously compromise the utilities under the street due to loss of bearing,” he said.
A spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the county hired a company to do an analysis, which would involve shoring and bracing the Champlain foundation walls “to mitigate any possible risk.” The mayor said in a statement that the county took the “potential concerns” in Kilsheimer’s letter “extremely seriously.”
A team of engineers and forensic experts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other agencies are testing and collecting materials for the full investigation into the cause of the collapse.
Kilsheimer told TRD that Miami-Dade Police have kept him from accessing the collapse site or the debris that was moved off-site. He expressed frustration over not being able to conduct his investigation.
“I think it’s important that as best I understand, no one other than us has begun evaluation of the structure of the building as designed,” Kilsheimer said of Champlain Towers South. “What was done on the drawings is one thing. How it was built is different.”
Eighty Seven Park
The 66-unit, 18-story Eighty Seven Park condo tower at 8701 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach is immediately south of the Surfside site. It has been closed since the northeast portion of Champlain South pancaked overnight on June 24. The rest of the building came down in a controlled demolition in early July.
Residents of Champlain had voiced their concerns over their building vibrating during construction of Eighty Seven Park, led by David Martin’s Terra, Bizzi & Partners, New Valley and Pacific Eagle, two years ago.
Eighty Seven Park’s property manager, KW Property Management, declined to comment on the closure of the tower. Gas and utilities to the building were cut off following the collapse. Visitors can access the building only if they sign a waiver, according to a staff member.
Sources say structural engineers are assessing the property. AirDNA, a Boca Raton-based firm that specializes in indoor air quality and building assessments, was hired to do testing.
Units at the luxury tower have sold for up to $37 million for a penthouse. Most recently, tennis pro Novak Djokovic sold his unit for $6 million. Other buyers include Canadian construction CEO Pierre Pomerleau, former politician Michael Huffington, and music industry executive Daniel Glass.
A spokesperson for the city of Miami Beach said Eighty Seven Park was not ordered to be evacuated. No damage has been reported to the city, the spokesperson said.
Collins Avenue was expected to reopen, but remains closed because of Kilsheimer’s warning, the mayor’s spokesperson said.
The Solara Surfside Resort, immediately north of the Champlain Towers South site, is also closed.