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Miami Beach Condo Resident Concerned About His Building After Surfside Collapse

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - After the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, people who live in condominiums have grown more concerned about the state of their own buildings.

Such is the case for Miami Beach resident Mario Juarez who spoke to CBS4. He said his building is exhibiting many of the same signs Champlain Towers South had before it came crashing down and he now has trouble sleeping at night.

"We got it because of the view and the access to the park," said Juarez referring to his condo which is just blocks away from Champlain Towers South. "As you can, see we witnessed the tragedy that just happened and it has me and other owners here very concerned."

Juarez lives at Harding Hall, a seven-story condo on Miami Beach. He said the collapse of Champlain Towers South was a rude awaking and instantly his dream home became a nightmare.

"We use to see Champlain Towers South right there, who would have thought that building would collapse and that pretty much has us worried because that building, when you looked at it, when you compare it with this one, this is worst in any condition, in every single condition, in every single sense," stressed Juarez.

According to a recent engineer report, Harding Hall is badly in need of repairs. Its balconies have deteriorated to a point where no one is allowed on them. Its pool is leaking and there is a sinkhole in the garage. The garage also floods every time it rains.

The building also has exposed rebar and cracks in the support beams.

Juarez said that's just part of the reason he feels unsafe.

"In 2018 when the first engineer came and said the roof had water penetration, the roof had failed, right above my apartment, in the area of the cooling tower, it is the heaviest piece of equipment and it right here above my apartment, so if the roof is going to fail, I'm going be the first to know. So no, I don't feel safe," he said.

Juarez said the repairs have an estimated price tag in the millions and their association board originally voted on an assessment to complete the repairs, but months later refunded all the homeowners their money without completing the work.

In recent weeks, a city audit found the building was not in compliance with its recertification requirements and they've since been given a 30 day notice to complete the electrical portion of the repairs or residents will have to vacate the property.

"The condition of this building is not an accident, it's not something that just happened, it's not a storm or anything that deteriorated this building, it's just a result of decades of miss management," said Juarez.

CBS4 reached out to the association and their attorney for comment, but have not heard back.

In the meantime, Juarez said he not only fears for his life but for his investment.

"This building needs to be repaired and that has taken priority over any enjoyment we can have in this apartment," he said.

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