A Florida condo building less than six blocks from the ruins of Champlain Towers South has been found to be structurally unsound — and residents are moving out in droves.
Regent Palace in Surfside, whose residents funded their own engineering study after the June 24 collapse nearby, got an urgent notice from city inspectors about serious problems there — and didn’t wait to pack up and leave, WTVJ-TV said.
“Honestly, you know, the building was analyzed and deemed unsafe, so we’re not gonna take any risk,” Regent resident Theo Magnat said.
“You know a couple of blocks down a building actually collapsed, so we don’t want anything tragic to happen,” Magnat told the station.
The decision came after an alarming notice from the Surfside Building Department, which told the condo association the situation was so dire that the building needed to make immediate repairs before even seeking permits.
The building is 70 years old, the outlet said.
“Place shoring around all damaged columns, do not wait for building permits to do so,” city officials said in an email using boldface font. “It is imperative that you act immediately without delay.”
Regent condo board president Joerg Dokondke said the building began installing the additional support on the columns even before the city’s email.
“I believe we are doing what is necessary to protect people and property,” Dokondke told WTVJ. “Or to consider warnings that at one point people would not recognize as warnings, consider them serious too. That’s what we do here.”
Allyn Kilsheimer, a structural engineer hired by Surfside after the Champlain collapse, said Regent residents are doing the prudent thing by taking no chances.
“You know, if you see something that worries you in a building, you ought to say something,” Kilsheimer said.
First responders have pulled 97 bodies from the rubble at Champlain Towers South, with 95 identified as of earlier this week, officials said.
The Champlain association was given an engineer’s report in 2018 that flagged “major structural damage,” but delayed for three years while it bickered over the $15 million price tag for the work.