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Dubai developer to buy South Florida condo collapse site for $120M

A billionaire developer from Dubai is set to purchase the site of a South Florida condominium that collapsed last June, killing 98 people, for $120 million after no other bids were submitted by the Friday evening deadline for next week’s auction.

Michael Fay, of Avison Young, said hundreds of potential buyers had shown interest in the property, but none was ultimately prepared to match the strong initial bid of Hussain Sajwani, of DAMAC Properties. Avison Young is the commercial real estate firm that was appointed to market the land as part of a class-action lawsuit.

The auction for the 1.8-acre parcel in Surfside is scheduled for Tuesday. Earlier this month, families of the victims reached a $997 million settlement with local officials, the developers of an adjacent building and others whom they hold responsible for the collapse of the 40-year-old, 12-story South Florida beachside building during the early hours of June 24.

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Harley S. Tropin announced the $997m settlement during a hearing before Miami-Dade circuit court judge Michael Hanzman. Still pending final approval, the settlement involves insurance companies, developers of an adjacent building and other defendants.

“I’m shocked by this result. I think it’s fantastic,” Hanzman said. “This is a recovery that is far in excess of what I had anticipated.”

Earlier this year, Hanzman had approved an $83m settlement to compensate people who suffered economic losses such as condominium units and personal property. A key question from the beginning has been how to allocate money from the property’s sale, insurance proceeds and damages from lawsuits among wrongful death cases and property claims.

The majority of Champlain Towers South collapsed suddenly about 1:20 a.m. last June 24 as most of its residents slept. Only three people survived the initial collapse. No other survivors were found despite the round-the-clock efforts of rescuers who dug through a 40-foot pile of rubble for two weeks. Another 36 people were in the portion of the building that remained standing.

The condominium’s residents and visitors formed a melting pot: Orthodox Jews, Latin Americans, Israelis, Europeans, and snowbirds from the Northeast.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is investigating the cause of the collapse, a process that is expected to take years.

 

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