Consider this a prime example of the Surfside Effect. The city of Sunny Isles Beach has ordered a condominium to shut down its parking garage after the building’s engineer found numerous issues of concern.
It was part of a review of the city’s older buildings, ordered by the city manager after the tragedy at Champlain Towers.
“Everyone is more conscious, a little bit more nervous, very anxious, we immediately put in a process where we were going back to buildings that we previously certified,” said the city’s vice mayor, Larisa Svechin.
The parking garage at Winston Towers 600 is a maze of shoring supports, with rusted rebar visible in the ceiling in several places.
“But right now, I’m not concerned, I think that they’re doing a good job in mitigating the risk and they’re being very proactive,” Svechin said.
“I honestly think it’s one good thing, ’cause they’re taking care of the infrastructure,” said Gabriel Ben-Amram, a resident of the building.
So the obvious question and concern for people who live here is, what happens to all their cars, where do they put them, where are they supposed to park now?
“We have to try to relocate 250 cars,” said head building official Clayton Parker. “The city is issuing permits to park on 174th street.”
“And we are making accommodations as a city, we are doing everything we can by allowing people to park on the street, we’ve been working with our developers who have large parking areas that are private and they’ve been very accommodating,” said Svechin, whose mother lives in the building.
The repairs to the garage began nine months ago, and the garage has been in continuous use during the process. City officials toured the garage with the condominium’s engineer on Monday, and ordered the structure to be closed by the end of the week after the engineer said it was not safe.
“So they’re basically using the example of what happened in Surfside to take the initiative to actually do something about it now,” said building resident Monique Ben-Amram.
They’re just taking no chances in Sunny Isles Beach. Again, it’s the ripple effect from Surfside.
“Well it’s had quite an impact, we made a decision early on, I think on the 28th of last month to do an emergency inspection of all of our older buildings, built prior to 1982,” Parker said.
The city has 59 buildings that fit that description, and all of them — even those which had already passed the 40-year recertification process — are getting a second look from city inspectors.
Parker predicts there will be a shortage of structural engineers, and there will be changes to the high-rise building codes and inspection process, also a result of the Surfside Effect.