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Surfside collapse could have impact on South Florida real estate

Real estate professionals say buying and selling coastal condos could take a hit after the Surfside tragedy.
Real estate professionals say buying and selling coastal condos could take a hit after the Surfside tragedy.

The collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building has had a devastating personal impact on the residents of Surfisde, and it could also have an economic impact.

Real estate professionals say buying and selling condos at other Surfside buildings — and all along the beachfront — could take a hit, because buyers are fearful it could happen to them.

“Everyone now is going to want to know if their building is safe,” says legendary Miami Beach real estate broker Jill Hertzberg, who is saddened and shaken by the collapse of that luxury property.

She says some of her high-end buyers have been calling with questions about the structural integrity of their buildings.

“Everyone is saying, first of all their heart goes out, what can they do to help [the people of Surfside],” Hertzberg said. “But then, you know, everyone looks back to themselves and wants to know if their building is safe, if they’re OK. And I think people are going to be questioning and making sure.

[ALSO SEE: After Surfside collapse do you need to worry about your building?]

Building codes are stringent in South Florida, but condos on the ocean take a beating. Saltwater is corrosive.

Still, condos don’t just fall down unexpectedly.

“How could a building just collapse like that?” Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Friday.

He wants some answers soon. So do leaders in Surfside.

“Why did this happen, can it happen again, and are any other buildings in town in jeopardy?” town commissioner Eliana Salzhauer said to Local 10 News on Thursday.

[ALSO SEE: Meet the engineer hired to get to the bottom of the Surfside collapse]

Real estate around the Champlain Towers has been hot. The tragic collapse could cool it down.

“The market has been extremely strong, especially since COVID came in,” Hertzberg said. “And especially in that area, in Surfside and Bal Harbour, they’ve had a market they’ve never had before. The buildings are selling out.

“And Champlain has always been a really nice building. It sits right on the ocean. ... It’s just one of those things that all you can do now is just try to go forward and make sure everyone is safe again, and it will heighten the awareness.”

[ALSO SEE: FIU professor found sinking land at Surfside collapse site in 1990s]


About the Author:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter.