Surfside, FL

Remembering Thursday, June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers South Collapsed, Killing 98; Parties Reached $1 Billion Settlement

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Nearly one year ago, around 1:15 a.m. on Thursday, June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers, south a Surfside Condominium, collapsed in Surfside, Florida. The collapse killed 98 people despite the cause of the building's unannounced collapse still being a mystery. Officials have not yet determined a cause for the collapse; however, an investigation has been initiated. [i]

Though the ultimate cause of the collapse has not yet been determined, several positive outcomes have nevertheless resulted during the one year since the building's collapse. Likely the most important component to some, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a requirement for statewide recertification of 25-year-old condos having more than three floors and located within three miles of the coast. For buildings not within three miles of the coast, 30 years is the standard for condo recertification, and then every ten years. The condominium recertification program is novel but is projected to encourage greater transparency between tenants and property owners, as briefly discussed in the following video. [ii]

Despite support for the law, Building Integrity analyzed the new law with different conclusions. For example, does the channel assert that it may not be capable of stopping the subsequent condo collapse due to the 'red tape' of who will be tasked with enforcing the law and ensuring appropriate compliance by property owners?

Even more heart-warming when discovered comes the nearly $1 billion surprise settlement. The settlement was not planned before the routine status conference that was taking place on Wednesday afternoon. Though shocking, the presiding Circuit Judge expressed he was "speechless," but this was "incredible news." Though most are still grieving the loss of one or multiple loved ones, settling so early illustrates Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman's commitment to wrapping up the case by the first anniversary of the collapse. [iii]

In addition to the Governor signing the new condo safety law and a settlement being reached, the community of Surfside and surrounding areas have numerous plans laid to commemorate the lives lost in the collapse. Here are a few of the events:

  • The town of Surfside is hosting a Surfside Remembrance Event from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. local time Friday, June 24th, on the first anniversary of the collapse. The event will occur at the former site of Champlain Towers South, 8777 Collins Avenue.
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  • St Joseph Catholic Church, Miami Beach, will conduct a Special Mass of Remembrance Friday, June 24th at 7:30 p.m.

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[i] Deidra Funcheon, Cause of Surfside building's collapse remains elusive after a year, Jun. 23, 2022.

[ii] Brendan Farrington, Associated Press, Florida gov signs condo safety bill after building collapse, May 26, 2022.

[iii] Id.

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Currently pursuing a Juris Doctor at Western State College of Law, freelance writer Charnell Gilchrist, a North Carolina native, now spends her free time writing in sunny Aliso Viejo, CA.

Aliso Viejo, CA

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