Florida's Waterfront May Change After Condo Collapse

Developers may buy up older buildings and put up new ones for richer residents
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2021 11:17 AM CDT
Florida's Waterfront May Change After Condo Collapse
An aerial view of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condo is seen on June 25 in Surfside, Florida.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

It could take some time to play out, but the collapse of the Surfside condo could fundamentally change the waterfront real estate market not only in the Miami area but throughout Florida and perhaps elsewhere in the country. This is a "real come to Jesus moment," Ana Bozovic, the founder of real estate data firm and brokerage Analytics, tells the Real Deal. The story, and another in a similar vein at NBC News, lays things out:

  • Condo associations that for years have largely shrugged off structural assessments are suddenly clamoring for them. "It will come up in every conversation," says the owner of one brokerage firm.
  • But many of the older buildings most in need of repairs are typically filled with lower-income residents and retirees, compared with wealthier occupants of newer condos.

  • That means residents of these older condos might not be able to afford the repairs, which will force them to sell. “If the results from those engineering reports in older buildings require significant amounts of remediation or tens of millions of dollars and the condo owners can’t afford the assessments, you’ll see units getting dumped," Adam Mopsick, the CEO of construction firm Amicon, tells NBC.
  • The upshot is that developers looking to cash in might buy out these older buildings—ones built in the 1970s through the 1990s—tear them down, and put up swankier places with a richer clientele.
  • The New York Times also looked at the economic fallout of the collapse, and the story includes a quote from a Virginia woman who bought a 14th-floor condo on an island in Biscayne Bay, near Surfside, five years ago as a vacation home. The collapse has her asking a question familiar to other Florida condo owners these days: "Should we sell it?"
(More Florida condo collapse stories.)

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