Surfside collapse site auction set for May 24

Dubai developer set the minimum bid for the oceanfront property at $120M

DAMAC Properties' Hussain Sajwani and aerial view of Surfside Towers remaining foundation of condominium after collapse (Hussain Sajwani, Getty Images)
DAMAC Properties' Hussain Sajwani and aerial view of Surfside Towers remaining foundation of condominium after collapse (Hussain Sajwani, Getty Images)

The Surfside collapse site auction is set for later this month, marking a landmark decision in the case and a milestone for unit owners poised to receive sale proceeds.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman late Wednesday approved the auction for May 24, less than a year after the oceanfront condo collapsed on June 24, killing nearly 100 people.

Attorney Michael Goldberg, who serves as the receiver for the Champlain Towers South condo association, filed the motion after stalking horse bidder Damac Properties completed its due diligence site inspection several days earlier than its deadline and asked for the auction to be moved up. Damac will also increase its deposit to $50 million within five business days.

The almost 1.9-acre site is at 8777 Collins Avenue in Surfside.

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Damac, a Dubai-based developer, set the floor purchase price at $120 million in September. It completed its 60-day examination of the property, which originally was due on Friday.

Damac had already put in a $16 million at-risk deposit for the site, but increased its ante in exchange for moving up the auction from June 20. The company’s site examination shows the site is in good shape, Goldberg told the court.

This means other potential buyers, who have access to Damac’s due diligence records, can participate in the auction if they submit their bid and deposits by Friday, May 20.

Hanzman approved the motion to expedite the auction in a short hearing, as the judge has been pushing for a faster sale of the site and a resolution to the case. The auction originally was expected in February or March but was then delayed.

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The new date won’t impact the bidders’ pool, as hopefuls have known the property would go to auction for months now, Goldberg said.

He also said that inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could throw the real estate market into uncertainty, so moving up the auction is all for the better.

Michael Fay, who is leading the Avison Young team marketing the site, echoed this, but said it is unclear if others will bid.

“I totally believe that we should do this, and I believe it is a wise move because of the geopolitical risk, interest rate risk and other things we have seen,” Fay said. “We could have zero bidders or up to a dozen bidders. Most of the bidders and most of the people we have been speaking with have been waiting for this day. They wanted to know if Damac would go at risk on their deposit, which you know they have.”

The closing would likely take place within 60 days of the auction, with Hanzman urging for an expedited closing so that 136 condo unit owners in line for a collective $83 million settlement can be paid.

The disbursement to both survivors and families who also have pending death claims for their loved ones, would come from insurance and site sale proceeds. The payments would be divided based on each owner’s percentage ownership stake in the building, pursuant to the condo declaration.

No unit owners opted out of receiving their share of the sale proceeds, Hanzman and Goldberg said.

The auction will be at 10 a.m. and is expected to be held in Courtroom 9-1 at the Children’s Courthouse at 155 Northwest Third Street in Miami.