REVEALED: Experts discovered a year ago that 12-floor Miami condo was SINKING and needed repairs for rusted steel and damaged concrete – as it’s revealed work on roof may have triggered deadly collapse leaving 99 missing
A report last year revealed that the 12-story condo building that killed one person and left 99 missing when it collapsed on Thursday was sinking and at risk before the horrific event – sparking questions if the tragedy could have been prevented and how to prevent similar collapses in the future.
Authorities have not yet determined what caused the building to collapse and Miami-Dade police have opened an investigation – though Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said ‘there has been no evidence found of foul play.
‘ The Champlain Towers South sea-view condo development was built in 1981 by the late developer Nathan Reiber’s company Nattel Construction at 8777 Collins Avenue in the southeast corner of Surfside but hasn’t been updated significantly since then.
Florida International University professor Shimon Wdowinski said he knew instantly which building had collapsed when he heard news reports because he had studied the building for a report published last year. According to the study, the building was sinking at a rate of about 2 millimeters a year in the 1990s because it sits on reclaimed wetlands – which could have impacted the building’s structure. Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett said roof renovations were being done on the property.
However, Surfside Vice Mayor Tina said the building passed a roof inspection on Wednesday – the day before the collapse. An engineer who specializes in concrete repair projects told the Miami Herald that one potential structural flaw called ‘concrete spalling’ jumped out at him when he watched video of the collapse.
The engineer, Greg Batista, described the flaw as ‘concrete cancer.’
A total of 55 condos collapsed on Thursday – more than a third of the 136 within the building – with most belonging to first-time homeowners. The tower has a mix of seasonal and year-round residents but authorities said the building was ‘substantially full’ when it collapsed.
It had a few two-bedroom units currently on the market at the time of the collapse with asking prices of $600,000 to $700,000. Some have sold for more than $2 million.
The area is a mix of new and old apartments, houses, condominiums and hotels, with restaurants and stores serving an international combination of residents and tourists.