NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Nori Morales had 15 minutes. She had accumulated clothes and furniture during the two years she had lived at the 152-unit Crestview Towers. The time she was allowed to walk into the condemned 10-story building Friday in North Miami Beach was just not enough.
Morales works as a nail technician. She had struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, but business had picked up with the COVID vaccine. Being homeless was not in her plans. Once she was at the door, she ran inside her apartment to get her much-needed supplies for work.
She had to leave the rest behind.
“I live in hell, honestly,” Morales said.
Morales and about 300 others had to evacuate July 2nd after the city condemned the building at 2025 NE 164th St. over a Jan. 11 report from an engineer who deemed it unsafe.
The only way for Crestview Towers residents to go back home is for the condo association to submit a new 40-year recertification report that addresses all structural and electrical issues, officials said.
Darwin Reyes, who had lived at the Crestview Towers for five years, said the experience Friday was a nightmare. To return, he needed an escort who stood by while loudly shouting a countdown. The uncertainty of not knowing when officials will allow them to go back home for good is what Yanosh Serebryaanik finds most stressful.
North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III said residents were not safe in the building. North Miami Beach Police Department Chief Richard Rand said there is an ongoing investigation into the Crestview Towers Condominium Association’s alleged misuse of funds.
City officials rejected two new surveys filed by the condo association this week because they did not comply with the certification process or address problems raised in the January report. Crestview also has nearly $500,000 in outstanding fines for code violations dating back to 2014.
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