Building collapse reflects the city’s affluent, middle-class divide

The city has seen the construction of several new condos in recent years, where large oceanfront units over 3,000 square feet (280 sq m) with modern amenities can fetch $10 million and more. Meanwhile, smaller units of 800 square feet (75 square meters) in neighboring condo buildings built decades ago can be had for $400,000.

Anna Bosovic, a real estate analyst in South Florida, said the collapse of the 40-year-old, middle-class Champlain Towers South on June 24 would exacerbate the divide. At least 36 people were killed and more than 100 are missing.

Bosovic said many buyers would avoid older buildings now, not only because they fear they might collapse, but because of the repair costs Champlain South owners faced before the collapse: $80,000 to $300,000 per unit. . These factors will reduce the value of older condos, while prices in luxury buildings will continue to skyrocket.

“The capitalists who are roaming here never considered old buildings. They’re buying new structures and pre-construction, so I don’t think it’s going to affect their appetite,” said Bosovich, founder of Analytics Miami. “What it will do is further reduce sales of older structures and drive the market down.” and will divide.”

Before the Champlain Towers South tragedy, Surfside, with about 6,000 residents on an island half a square mile (1.3 square kilometers) off Miami, was one of South Florida’s most anonymous municipalities – although in January Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner had rented a luxury. Condo in a new building two blocks from collapse.

The city is known for its clean beaches and a 12-story border on its buildings, and contrasts with neighboring Miami Beach and its world-renowned nightlife, Bal Harbor with its high-end shopping and buildings that double and triple. Surfside’s highest elevation.

Mayor Charles Burkett said the city has experienced a “roller coaster” of emotions since the collapse. Through what has intensified the community, the demolition of the remainder of the structure and Tropical Storm Elsa, which brought strong winds and heavy rain to the area.

“We have faced myriad challenges, but the good news is that the resources we have are all aligned, all focused and pulling in the same direction,” he said.

Ryan Marmor moved from Palm Beach County to Surfside earlier this year, drawn in by the quiet, thriving business climate of downtown Miami and its proximity to its large Orthodox Jewish community. On Saturdays, most of the city is closed on the Sabbath except for chain stores. Surfside was the home of Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Jewish poet and short-story writer who won the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature.

But Marmur also got a deal on a tiny apartment built half a century ago, just steps away from the luxury condo of former President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. While the building of Marmor was intended for the middle class, today’s construction is aimed at the New York, European and South American elite, who are attracted by the state’s lifestyle, weather, and lack of income tax.

“I pay $1,375 (a month) across the street from the beach; Ivanka and Jared pay $38,000,” said Marmur, a real estate agent who runs a support group for survivors of Nazi death camps. Also works for Holocaust Heroes Worldwide.

One recent afternoon in the cheap shopping district of Surfside, barbers Aramis Armor and Freddie Elias, co-owners of a tailor and dry cleaning shop, had no customers. The pandemic hit their businesses hard, the two said, and the collapse and resulting road closures made it difficult for anyone to reach them.

Amor says that in normal times, the business district is full of families—they can have an ice cream, pizza or coffee at the many locally-owned businesses that dot the city.

“They’re all great, the customers are great,” Armor said. He blamed city officials for his lack of business and said he should never have allowed the collapsed building to deteriorate.

Elias, who has had a Surfside business for 25 years, is hoping that a federal low-interest loan promised by President Joe Biden’s administration for stores affected by the collapse will last until his customers return. Meanwhile, a fellow customer was driving to the customer’s house for fittings instead of fighting traffic to get to the store.

“Since Covid and now this tragedy, it has been very, very bad for us,” Elias said. “We need help.”

The roads were reopened this week.


Frisaro reported from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Associated Press writers Mike Schneider in Orlando and Gisela Salomon in Miami; photographer Marta Lavandier at Surfside; and researcher Randy Hershaft in New York contributed to this report.


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