wplg logo

Uncertainty surrounds North Miami Beach condo’s safety and when residents can return

North Miami Beach building and zoning department officials deemed Crestview Towers Condominium unsafe and ordered about 300 residents to evacuate Friday.
North Miami Beach building and zoning department officials deemed Crestview Towers Condominium unsafe and ordered about 300 residents to evacuate Friday.

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – An attorney for the Crestview Condominium Association, a North Miami Beach building that was deemed unsafe on Friday, says she believes residents could be able to return to their units as soon as this week.

But there are some that don’t believe that timeline is realistic.

During an appearance on Local 10′s “This Week in South Florida,” Mariel Tollinchi, whose firm represents the Crestview Condominium Association, said that another engineer has been hired to conduct a second report that could be released by Tuesday. That report, she says, will conclude that repairs on the structure and electrical can be done with residents back in their homes.

“An unofficial report was released by that engineer saying the building is actually safe for occupancy and that repairs on the structure and electrical can be done with the residents there,” Tollinchi said.

North Miami Beach building and zoning department officials deemed Crestview Towers Condominium unsafe and ordered about 300 residents to evacuate Friday. Some families learned about it just hours before the midnight deadline.

As of Monday night, 38 people from the Crestview Towers need a place to stay.

The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust has stepped in to help them out, finding three different properties for them to live at, including a Roadway Inn hotel, after initially staying at a shelter at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds.

“One of the families that stayed (at the fairgrounds) has a 4-month old, and a 1-year-old baby. To leave them in a shelter for some prolonged period of time with the level of uncertainty that we’ve got would’ve been unfair,” said Ron Book, chairman of Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

The sudden evacuation came after the city of North Miami Beach reviewed an engineering report that deemed the Crestview structurally and electrically unsafe.

The report, issued in January, detailed poor conditions like concrete spalling and signs of moisture on balcony slabs. But it wasn’t until audits prompted by the Surfside collapse on June 24 that the report was handed over.

Book said that there was a rumor that the city has “uncondemned” the building. “That is not true. The building is not uncondemned,” he said.

Book said it is up to the city to decide when, or if, the building will ever be cleared for residents to return.

“The owners or the association may have gone out and gotten an engineering company to go in and assess it. They may have done their own report. But that’s a self-serving document until the city’s engineer’s have an opportunity to look at it,” Book advised.

The condo’s attorney said that the formal report of the engineer’s findings will be released Tuesday morning. At that point, the association will have 30 days to respond to the city.

(See the original report: Crestview Condominium Towers)


About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.