Residents in Coral Gables Building Allowed to Stay for Now Amid Safety Concerns

Residents had until Monday to leave, according to notices placed in the front entrance of the building on July 19 and 20

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Residents in a Coral Gables condo building will not have to move out for now after they were initially facing mandatory evacuations over safety concerns.

The building, located at 730 Coral Way, was initially declared unsafe by a structural engineer and many homeowners were left with nowhere to go. Monday morning, an inspector declared the building secure after what the condo association president deemed was “total panic.”

“Nobody’s going to have to move out today. She’s called off shutting off the electrical power which was going to happen today,” President Larry Silvester said. “We’ve done all the initial actions that the engineer asked us to do”

Silvester said the building must now get the final approval of a structural engineer. Officials expect the final report to be done by Friday.

Residents had until Monday to leave, according to notices placed in the front entrance of the building on July 19 and 20.

A statement from the City of Coral Gables said that the evacuation would be enforced if emergency measures were not taken. A letter addressed to the condo association Saturday called the final notice of emergency action for the 11-unit building.

Liz Cortez, who lives close to the three-story building, was surprised and concerned that there may be a rush to judgement for some buildings given what happened in Surfside.

“We have to be careful with our buildings and we have to take care of the problems that we have, Cortez said, "but in other ways I think they’re rushing to make problems in all the buildings.”

In a statement, Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago said that the Chief Building Inspector did a visual inspection that "additional action was necessary." After receiving a four-year old report, it was determined that the recommendations were not taken and an additional inspection was made which determined that immediate measures were needed.

"This situation is a reminder to all buildings and condominium associations that it is crucial that all structures are properly maintained on an ongoing basis,' Mayor Lago's statement said. "This building was not due for recertification for five years."

The mayor's statement finished by saying that the city will be sending notices to all buildings 30-years and older offering courtesy inspections by the Chief Building Inspector.

The news comes days after residents in a Coral Springs building were given days to evacuate.

July 24th marked one month since the shocking building collapse in Surfside. The tragedy has forced building officials across South Florida to take closer look at older structures.

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