The Wall Street Journal first reported on the agreement, citing a court hearing. The residential complex known as Champlain Towers South with around 130 units initially collapsed in part. The rest of the building, which was in danger of collapsing, was later deliberately blown up. Survivors were only found in the first hours after the collapse.
According to “WSJ”, the comparison is significantly higher than had been expected by experts. Prior to the decision, which came about six weeks before the June 24 first anniversary of the accident, the judge had only awarded $83 million in damages to all apartment owners combined for the loss of their property. Since compensation for the victims’ families had not yet been determined at the time, emotional scenes erupted in the courtroom during a court hearing in March.
Neighboring project companies sued
The amount of compensation increased dramatically after the real estate developers of a neighboring luxury apartment block, Eighty Seven Park, were also sued by lawyers for the survivors and their families. The plaintiffs argued that the construction of the luxury block damaged the collapsed residential view of Champlain Towers South. An accusation that the developers of Eighty Seven Park vehemently denied.
And the number could increase further as other companies have been sued, such as those that conducted the inspections.
“Shocked by the result”
Trial judge Michael Hanzman said he was “shocked by the outcome,” according to the New York Times. I think it’s fantastic.” That is a compensation that goes far beyond what he expected.
“Structural damage” known for years
The twelve-story residential building Champlain Towers South with around 130 residential units partially collapsed on the night of June 24th. However, a report in 2018 had already identified “major structural damage” to the building, which was completed in 1981.
Most recently, there were reports in the Washington Post and other US media about a letter from the board of owners from April 2021. According to this, the damage that was listed in a report in 2018 was now much more advanced, as the letter said.
The board of owners explained to the other owners why almost 15 million US dollars were needed for the renovation. “If you can directly see the spalling of the concrete, it means the beam holding it together is rusting beneath the surface and is degrading in strength,” the letter said. And further: “Please note that the original scope of work of the 2018 report has increased.” However, nothing happened after this 2018 report for years.