A condo building in North Miami Beach has been closed and residents are being evacuated Friday after an audit and building inspection report outlined unsafe structural and electrical conditions.
The city of North Miami Beach ordered the 156-unit Crestview Towers Condominium, located at 2025 NE 164th St., to be closed immediately and the evacuation of its more than 300 residents.
Officials did not immediately release details about the structural problems that prompted the evacuation, but the building had reported millions of dollars in damage from 2017's Hurricane Irma.
“In an abundance of caution, the City ordered the building closed immediately and the residents evacuated for their protection, while a full structural assessment is conducted and next steps are determined,” North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III said in a news release. “Nothing is more important than the safety and lives of our residents, and we will not rest until we ensure this building is 100% safe.”
The city has set up a hotline for residents to call with more information at 786-589-4056. The hotline will operate from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily until further notice.
It is the first building to be evacuated since municipal officials in South Florida, and statewide, began scrutinizing older high-rises in the wake of the Surfside collapse to ensure that substantial structural problems are not being ignored.
After the tragic collapse, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava ordered an audit of buildings that were 40 years old and older.
Days after the collapse, Sorey asked for an audit and review of all high-rise condo buildings above five stories to determine if they were in compliance with the county and city 40-year recertification process and certified as safe for occupancy.
After department files showed Crestview was not in compliance, an inspector went to the building on Friday to follow up.
That same day, the Crestview Towers building manager brought a recertification report dated Jan. 11, 2021, to the North Miami Beach Buildings Department, where the association’s engineer deemed the property unsafe.
NBC 6 reached out to the condo association for a comment but did not receive a response.
Evacuating residents hauling suitcases packed items into cars Friday evening outside the Crestview, which was built in 1972.
Clothes and electronic devices were the only things Harold Dauphin could quickly grab from his home before he was forced to evacuate.
“They give two hours for everyone to evacuate the building,” said Dauphin, who lives on the second floor at Crestview Towers with his seven-year-old son.
Residents like Silvio Martinez are angry and confused.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Martinez said. “The city don’t send me any paper. Nothing. I don’t know what’s going on.”
The City of North Miami Beach is working with the American Red Cross to find temporary shelters for displaced residents who do not have somewhere else to stay.
The North Miami Beach City Commission will hold a special commission meeting at 6 p.m. Saturday to discuss the evacuation. It will be held at the Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater, located at 17011 NE 19th Avenue.