2nd Miami Beach apartment complex set to be evacuated due to safety issues

Owner was helping residents leave anyway since building was going to be demolished, attorney says

Lawyer for building's owner says city already had deal with Devon Apartments to vacate for building of new townhouse complex.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Residents of a more than 80-year-old building have been notified by the city of Miami Beach that they have until Monday to vacate their apartments. But an attorney who represents the owner of the building said the structure was to be demolished by December anyway to make way for a townhouse project. The violation came as a surprise since the owner has been working with the city, according to Manny J. Vadillo, who represents the owner.

The notice of violation, opened on July 6, 2021, for Devon Apartments at 6881 Indian Creek Drive, stated it was issued due to evidence of structure deterioration.

“Although the structural components of this two-story, 30-unit building shows signs of deficiencies, our building official has determined that this building is not in danger of imminent collapse,” according to a statement from the city.

“You can tell there’s not enough TLC, tender loving care, for this building,” said, Esmart Romero, a tenant of the building.

A property search found that the structure was built in 1939.

According to Vadillo, the city agreed in May that the owner could work with tenants to vacate the building in an “orderly fashion.” Since then, Vadillo said, the number of tenants has been reduced from 28 to 14. Seven, of those, he said, do not have to pay rent, and the others are in the process of vacating.

A new townhouse project is planned for 6881 Indian Creek Drive in Miami Beach and residents were already vacating, an attorney for the owner of the building says. (Sanchez Vadillo LLP)

“Yesterday we were notified that the city of Miami Beach made a decision and posted a notice to vacate the property due to concrete deterioration,” Vadillo wrote in the email. “The city is giving the tenants through the end of the week to find an alternate location to reside. My clients will continue to work with the city and are currently working with the tenants to help them move. My clients are extremely sensitive to safety and, in fact, visited the property several times since last week to speak with tenants when communications started with the city to ensure tenants were not caught by surprise,” according to Vadillo, who said some of the residents have been there for years.

In response to what it is calling “proactive site visits” after the collapse at Surfside on June 24, the city of Miami Beach’s building department state in a memo that it has visited 507 structures that are within the 40-year-certification process.

The memo from City Manager Alina T. Hudak dated July 9, 2021, said that the purpose was to identify any “obvious signs of structural concerns.”

The Indian Creek Drive building is the second in Miami Beach since the collapse that the city is telling residents they need to evacuate. A three-story apartment complex at 1619 Lenox Ave. with 24 units in Miami Beach was deemed unsafe on July 3 after structural issues were found, a spokeswoman for the city confirmed to Local 10 News.

About the Author:

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.