Surfside condo collapse site to be sold for $120 million to Dubai developer, no other bids

Al Diaz/adiaz@miamiherald.com
·3 min read

The beachfront property where 98 people died in last year’s Surfside condo collapse will be sold to a billionaire developer from Dubai for $120 million after no other bids were submitted ahead of a Friday evening deadline.

Hussain Sajwani, owner of DAMAC Properties, was the lone bidder for the 1.8-acre parcel at 8777 Collins Ave., according to Michael Fay of commercial real estate firm Avison Young, who was appointed to market the land as part of a class-action lawsuit.

The property was the site of the former 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building, which collapsed June 24 in one of the deadliest building failures in modern history.

Sajwani, a friend and business partner of former President Donald Trump, has been involved in residential developments across the Middle East, partnerships with luxury clothing lines Versace and Fendi, and the development of two Trump-branded golf courses in Dubai.

READ MORE: After building collapse, developer with Trump ties sees opportunity

A DAMAC spokesman has previously said that Sajwani plans to build an ultra-luxury condo building. The proceeds of the sale will go toward a settlement for relatives of victims of the collapse and unit owners.

“While nothing can take away the pain or suffering, we are happy that we are moving forward with this successful purchaser to help bring closure for everyone,” Fay told the Miami Herald.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, who is overseeing the lawsuit, must approve the sale, and Fay said he expects that to happen “immediately” because it is the only bid. Hanzman, who has pushed to sell the land as quickly as possible to pay the plaintiffs, gave preliminary approval to the bid in September when DAMAC first submitted the offer. The deadline for other offers was 5 p.m. Friday.

About $33 million from the land sale is planned to be paid to individual owners of the 136-unit condo. Owners will also receive another $50 million in insurance coverage from the building.

Last week, relatives of victims and survivors of the collapse reached a preliminary $997 million settlement with 20 defendants in the case, with most of the money going to the relatives. Unit owners have requested a higher settlement amount than they initially were given.

Fay said the next step is for the court-appointed receiver for the Champlain Towers South condominium association, attorney Michael Goldberg, to file a motion in court for Hanzman to approve the sale. Goldberg filed a notice Friday evening that no other bids had been received.

The $120 million bid from DAMAC Properties was submitted in September and considered a “stalking horse” offer that set a minimum sales price. Hanzman had scheduled an auction for Tuesday in case other bidders came forward. A weekly court hearing in the lawsuit is also scheduled Tuesday.

Fay said he had been in talks with several interested groups about the sale in recent weeks but none submitted bids by the deadline. A marketing report from Avison Young showed tens of thousands of parties had viewed the listing and over 225 had downloaded the offering memorandum.

READ MORE: For families, dividing $1 billion Surfside settlement looms as ‘extremely painful’

“We were having conversations with between half a dozen and a dozen groups in the last month and half,” he said.

Bidders were required to pay a $16 million deposit, sign a purchase agreement and show proof of funds in order to be considered, Fay said.

He said DAMAC paid the initial $16 million deposit and another $34 million deposit toward the total offer figure after completing a series of engineering surveys and testing at the site.

Corrects condo owner settlement figures to $33 million from the sale of the property and $50 million from the building’s insurance.