A two-story apartment building in Miami Beach built in 1939 may be ordered to close after a city inspector found “evidence of structure deterioration, to include spalling concrete.”
The owners of the building, at 6881 Indian Creek Dr., have until Monday to submit an engineer’s report to the city or face an evacuation order, the city said Friday. The building, which according to the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser includes 30 living units, is listed online as the Devon Apartments.
Miami Beach’s Housing and Community Services Department has been “mobilized to assist,” according to a memo from City Manager Alina T. Hudak.
“The Building Official visited the site today and determined that there was no need to evacuate the building today, however, the expectation is that progress on the additional structural engineering analysis must be made by Monday,” a city spokeswoman wrote in a statement.
Manny Vadillo, an attorney representing the apartment building’s owners, told the Miami Herald on Saturday that management has informed the 16 people currently living there of the possible evacuation.
In an email, Vadillo said the building owners went before a city magistrate in May and plan to demolish the building for the planned development of a new townhome project. At the time, he said, 28 people lived at the building, he said.
“Last May, my clients agreed during a Special Master meeting to demolish the structure by December for an upcoming project and in the meantime would vacate the building in an orderly fashion,” he wrote. “Since May, the tenancy has been reduced from 28 to 16, of which seven are not paying rent and five are presently in the process of vacating.
He said the building owners are in communication with the city and will “work with them and comply with all requests.”
“Although we have not received a formal evacuation order, they have no issue working with the city to vacate the entire building as soon as possible,” Vadillo wrote. “They are extremely sensitive to safety and in fact visited the property yesterday to speak to tenants and inform them of this news. Should an evacuation order be received, we will be ready to help however deemed appropriate and, in the meantime, will continue to vacate the property by means allowed under law.”
After the June 24 collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo, the city sent inspectors to 507 older buildings undergoing Miami-Dade County’s 40-year recertification process, which requires structural and electrical evaluations of older buildings after 40 years — and every 10 years after that.
The city on July 3 evacuated a South Beach condo at 1619 Lenox Ave. after an inspector flagged a flooring system failure in a vacant unit and damage to exterior walls.
Now, the building department has flagged another 10 buildings for concerns “severe enough to be issued Unsafe Structure notices requiring more immediate compliance,” Hudak’s memo said. Most of the violations, which are publicly available on a city portal, cite structural deterioration or concrete spalling, which refers to the weakening and cracking of concrete, often related to the rusting and expansion of steel reinforcement bars. The city placed red “Unsafe Structure” placards at the entrances to the buildings found to be in violation, according to the memo. After the memo was issued, the city released a list of the properties it was concerned about but narrowed the list to nine buildings.
The apartment at 6881 Indian Creek Dr. is among those the city highlighted as being in violation. The others are: 5333 Collins Ave., 1676 Alton Rd., 401 Ocean Dr., 1000 West Ave., 345 Ocean Dr., 1250 Ocean Dr., 8233 Harding Ave. and 8035 Crespi Blvd.
Six of the buildings are listed as “complying” and three as “pending,” with the Indian Creek Drive property carrying the additional label that it “may need to be vacated.”
“Others will need varying levels of enforcement, for example, securing balconies,” Hudak wrote in the memo.
The three buildings not currently in compliance “have not provided additional information” to the city, according to the memo. They are: 8233 Harding Ave., 6881 Indian Creek Dr. and 8035 Crespi Blvd.
In an interview, Mayor Dan Gelber said the public should not be alarmed but that the city is taking the issue of building safety “very seriously.”
“People need to be calm, but they also need to recognize that we’re not going to kick the can down the road,” Gelber said. “We’re very serious about making sure everybody is complying with the building codes. It’s not negotiable.”