Surfside in court: Still no consensus on future of site

A moment of silence preceded further discussion Friday about legal matters pertaining to the Champlain Towers South collapse.

MIAMI – A moment of silence was held in court Friday morning for those who died in the Champlain Towers South collapse. Court-appointed receiver Michael Goldberg then revealed news about insurance money that will be made available.

“Great American has advised us that they will be tendering the $31 million of property insurance,” he said.

The hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman included attorneys representing all parties related to the Surfside collapse, including those who survived the tragedy, families of victims who were killed as well as others whose property was destroyed in the disaster. The hearing was meant to update the court on what has happened since Wednesday’s meeting, and to arrange an organizational structure for all pending legal matters.

Right now, there is no consensus among families on what should become of the site where that condo building once stood. On Wednesday Hanzman ordered that the process begin to sell the oceanfront property, which could fetch $100 million, according to court records.

“Some people want it sold and the proceeds immediately distributed, some want to rebuild on the property. And some believe this is hallowed ground and that it should be forever a memorial,” Goldberg said.

An attorney for the town of Surfside expressed the desire to intervene in the matter.

But the judge said it wouldn’t be necessary if Surfside ends up being a defendant in any of the pending lawsuits.

Help is also coming from the private sector. Rodney Barreto and Manuel Kadre have agreed to facilitate the pitch to federal, state and local governments for the creation of an on-site memorial, pro bono. Michael Fay of commercial real estate firm Avison Young has also agreed to work on finding a potential buyer for the property, pro bono. And the Florida Bar Association is offering pro bono help for victims’ families for any non-litigation matters.

About the Author:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.