Forced-out condo residents in North Miami Beach don’t know when they’re coming home

City awaiting report from condo board showing Crestview Towers is safe

About 300 people who live in the Crestview Towers were forced out Friday after the condo board submitted an engineer’s report indicating the building was unsafe electrically and structurally.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – It’s been four days since residents packed their bags and evacuated Crestview Towers in North Miami Beach.

There’s still no timeline on when they can go back home.

City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III said the condo board needed to submit a report that determines the building is safe for occupancy, which will then have to be reviewed by a third party.

“The timeline falls strictly on condo association’s board,” Sorey said. “We need to get to how much are these repairs going to cost that are needed? And do they have the money for those repairs?”

There are two reports written by an engineer for the Crestview Towers condo association.

In the first report, it says the building is electrically and structurally unsafe.

In a second report, the engineer said the building is safe for occupancy while repairs are being made to the building.

That report was submitted to the city Tuesday, said Mariel Tollinchi, an attorney for the Crestview Towers condo association.

While the process plays out, residents are forced to stay somewhere else.

Three hundred residents were forced out Friday, the same day the condo board submitted an engineer’s report indicating the building was unsafe electrically and structurally, with concrete spalling and moisture on balcony slabs.

While the report was prepared in January, it wasn’t submitted until after the Surfside condo collapse six months later.

“That was a report that should have been submitted by the architect, since the architect was in communication with the city consistently asking for extensions,” Tollinchi said. “The board was under the impression this report was also going to be submitted by the architect.”

Local 10 News asked Sorey whose responsibility it is to turn in the engineer’s report.

“Well, this is going to be something that’s going to be looked into,” he said. “I’m assuming some things will change.”

The Red Cross and the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust arranged for displaced residents to stay at various hotels, including Rodeway Inn, while repairs are being made.

“The board has for the past two years up until last Thursday been working on repairs endlessly and around the clock, not just structurally and electrically, but with the fire marshal to make sure the building is up to code,” Tollinchi said.

Said Sorey: “There should be no repairs being done because there’s no permits pulled. There are no permits on file for Crestview Towers, and you know you can’t do work without permits.”

The city manager says North Miami Beach will continue to go down the list of all older high-rise buildings to make sure they’re safe for residents.

About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.