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Surfside Mayor Says Town Investigating Safety Of Champlain Towers North

SURFSIDE (CBSMiami) – Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett says the town is investigating the safety of Champlain Towers North, which is just one block north of Champlain Towers South and is a replica building.

Burkett on June 27 had said a "cursory" or quick inspection by officials of Champlain Towers showed nothing unusual. But now Surfside is doing a "full structural review."

Burkett told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "We are doing a deep dive with respect to the sister building you know at Champlain North which is essentially the same building built by the same developer at the same time with the same plans and probably some of the same materials and given that we do not know why the first building came down, we have deep concerns for the residents in there. From the beginning we made sure those residents had alternative housing if they wanted it."

Burkett said, "We are going to do everything we can to look at those structural systems including ground-penetrating radar, the columns, the beams, the slabs and we are trying to get our arms around what may be happening and what did happen."

Burkett added, "Like I said we have concerns, not just some but deep concerns about that building especially since we don't know what happened but our engineer is working on it as is out town official."

Meanwhile, the 10-story, 156-unit Crestview Towers at 1700 NE 164 Street on Miami Beach remains closed after residents were evacuated Friday night after the city discovered an engineer's report showing the complex was "structurally and electrically unsafe."

City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III said the building was a evacuated out of an "abundance of caution." The city found out about the engineer's report from January 11th after initiating the building's recent audit.

Sorey told D'Oench, "There has been no other documentation submitted to the city so we are still waiting to hear from them. As you know we have a legal and moral obligation to safeguard our residents. Until proper documentation us turned in and we can investigate that information, the building will remain closed. We have no idea when it will be reopened. We have to be crystal clear that that building is safe to go back in to."

A city spokeswoman said the condominium board owes the city a new report about a new inspection by the building's structural engineer that was conducted over the weekend. She said the deadline for that report was today but said the city needs to review it.

Miguel Jimenez stood outside the Crestview Towers on Monday and pointed to his seventh-floor apartment that he said he had been renting for seven years. He said he was currently living in a nearby efficiency apartment and did not feel safe about returning to Crestview Towers.

"I think it is crazy," he said. "I don't want to back. I do not feel safe. At first they said it was safe and then they said it was not safe."

And over on Miami Beach, a three-story building at 1619 Lenox Avenue remains evacuated with signs posted on it saying it is an "unsafe structure."

The city says a building inspector flagged a floor system failure in an apartment with excessive damage on an interior wall. At the Champs Elysees Condominium, CBS4 was told that the building had hired an engineer to look into the problems.

A city spokeswoman also gave CBS4 an update on Maison Grande, the condominium building at 6309 Collins Avenue, one week after video on social media showed cracks in the ceiling of the parking garage underneath the building and exposed rebar in the concrete. Spokeswoman Melissa Berthier said the building had been deemed safe.

The city of Miami also gave CBS4 an update on two of its buildings.

A spokesman said Stanley Axelrod Towers at 1809 Brickell Avenue was cited in April 2016 for not recertifying. In July 2016, they applied for a recertification and "were ultimately denied due to needing structural repairs. Concrete restoration was permitted and completed in May 2017. However, the applicant did not submit for final approval."

The spokesman said, "All threshold buildings that have not completed their recertification will be referred to the City's unsafe structures Board."

The spokesman also said Isola Brickell at 770 Claughton Island Drive was built in 1990 and in late 2020, they applied for a "substantial (1 million dollars) concrete/structural repair permit for their parking garage. The pool was emptied and the garage shored up. Follow-up inspection was complete in June 2021 and found to be up to date on repairs."

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