Connect with us

Real Estate News

Cause of Miami condo collapse unclear, but experts say barrier islands present risks

Published

on

There are more questions than answers after the collapse of a 12-story building in Surfside, Florida on Thursday that killed at least four people and injured 11. More than 150 people are still missing in the small Miami Beach community.

Local officials so far seemed to have few ideas about what inexplicably brought down the 136-unit building. However, scientists have long recognized the danger of building on the drifting sand of a barrier island like Miami Beach, especially with rising sea levels. That may not be the reason for this collapse, but it remains a technical challenge in the region.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told reporters that he often jogged past the condo building, which was built in the early 1980s. He said he knew some minor construction and roofing work was being done, including a new crane, but he noted that many buildings are being serviced in a similar manner.

Search and rescue personnel work after the partial collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South Condo building on June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

“There is no reason for this building to collapse like this,” said Burkett, “unless someone literally pulls the supports out from below, or they are washed out, or there is a hole in the ground or something like that because it just collapsed.”

“I mean, it looks like a bomb went off, but we’re pretty sure no bomb went off,” said the mayor of NBC’s TODAY show.

“Buildings don’t just collapse”

Kenneth Director, an attorney for Becker, a law firm that has worked for the building since 1993, told the Miami Herald that the building hired an engineer to undergo a 40-year recertification process, as outlined in the Miami Building Regulations -Dade County is mandatory.

“You were good at discussing the project with the engineer,” the director told the Miami Herald.

Any property in the county that was built four decades or more ago must complete the inspection process within a few years of this anniversary to certify that “every building or structure is structurally and electrically safe for its intended use for further use “The communication from the district to the property owner.

There are recent examples of the local government closing condominiums in Miami Beach and forcing residents to move out if they fail their inspections, said Peter Zalewski, director of Condo Vultures, a property research firm in South Florida. Miami Beach closed the Castle Beach Club to residents for more than two years in 2005 after the building failed to fix structural and electrical failures, he said.

“I’ve been here since 1993 and I’ve never seen anything like it,” added Zalewski, referring to the condominium collapse on Thursday. “You’d think that all such big problems would have been detectable. Once recertified, expect reports telling what problems are currently in the building. “

“I have a feeling that something else is being discovered that we cannot assume right away,” added Zalewski. “Forty-year-old buildings don’t just collapse, and there are a number of them along the coast.”

Public records did not show many problems with the building, other than two complaints about cracks in the outer wall of a unit.

According to a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County, a condo owner sued the housing association for failing to repair the cracks in the outside wall of her apartment in 2015. The apartment owner, who was unavailable for comment, said the cracks resulted in $ 15,000 in water damage. The court files showed that the building societies are liable for the costs due to the structural conditions.

The apartment owner had already filed a lawsuit against the building cooperative in 2001 because of a similar situation. The two sides reached an out-of-court settlement, but this type of crack is labeled “of interest” in the county structural recertification form.

Becker, the law firm that works for the building and represented in the 2015 lawsuit, did not respond to a request for comment.

“A real awakening”

Another topic for the Surfside community is one that shares all of Miami Beach: the cities are built on a barrier island. Climate scientists and geologists have long warned that these islands cannot be responsibly developed. They consist of a loose mixture of sand and mud and provide natural protection for the coastline.

“These are very dynamic functions. We didn’t understand until the 1970s that these islands were actually migrating, ”said Orrin Pilkey, a professor emeritus of geology at Duke University who has long studied sea level rise and coastal overdevelopment. “When the sea level rises, they withdraw.”

An analysis of satellite imagery of Miami Beach, which includes the city of Surfside, found that the area had moved slightly every year through the 1990s, according to a study published in Ocean & Coastal Management magazine in April 2020 that these issues can cause cause major flooding and threats to local communities.

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilbert Gaul’s book, The Geography of Risk, which analyzes property investments in beachfront communities over the past century, Americans have built approximately $ 3 trillion worth of land on barrier islands and coastal floodplains.

“It’s a difficult conversation, but the building shouldn’t have been there,” said Pilkey, “along with many other buildings. We are facing a real awakening. “

Meanwhile, Zalewski said he believes buildings of similar age are likely to undergo fresh analysis and inspection following this tragedy. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Florida required future construction reports to be submitted to the state for review.

“Ultimately,” he said, “this will be a dramatic change for condominiums.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real Estate News

San Diego City Council Reviews Audit Of Troubled Real Estate Deals

Published

on

Photo by Shalina Chatlani

Above: 101 Ash Street in Downtown San Diego. August 21, 2020.

An examination of the string of bad San Diego real estate deals received its first public hearing on Wednesday, with city council members saying major changes are needed to regain public confidence.

The reason for the audit was the city’s catastrophic attempt to lease the high-rise office building at 101 Ash Street and buy it later. The city had hoped to hire hundreds of employees to consolidate its workforce in the downtown area. The move-in date, however, kept being postponed as the city discovered more and more problems with asbestos and the building’s HVAC and electrical systems. The latest estimate of the cost of repairs and improvements is $ 115 million.

The report found that former Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his staff were not following best practices such as: B. require independent appraisals and building inspections, and withhold important information from the city council.

RELATED: San Diego Audit Mistakes in Real Estate Deals under Faulconer

“My 500-square-foot condominium has had more inspections than these city buildings,” said city council member Vivian Moreno, who chairs the city council’s audit committee. “Having seen all of this in this review, it is absolutely critical that any proposed property purchase is moved forward before the council is required to prepare a due diligence checklist.”

A checklist to ensure that every real estate transaction is in line with best practices is one of the main recommendations of the audit. Mayor Todd Gloria has agreed to implement it.

RELATED: NBC7 admits the 101 Ash Street story is based on a forged document

In addition, the audit found that city officials were not giving council members enough time to review complex contracts, nor were they showing real alternatives. Councilor Joe LaCava acknowledged that the security measures recommended in the audit could slow the process of the city’s property acquisition process.

“We can lose some good home purchases because we need extra time to make sure we’re getting things right and a seller may not be willing to wait,” said LaCava. “And I think that’s fine. As I said, it’s more important to protect the city and the taxpayers than to close a real estate deal.”

City attorney Mara Elliott announced last month that the city would order a judge to suspend leases at 101 Ash Street and another downtown office building that is currently occupied by several city departments. Both deals were crafted with the advice of commercial real estate agent Jason Hughes.

The city’s amended lawsuit followed revelations exposed through subpoenas that Hughes, who claimed he was acting as an unpaid volunteer, actually paid $ 9.4 million in fees from the sellers of the buildings.

While the audit focused on 101 Ash Street, it also looked at other questionable real estate transactions. This includes the purchase of a closed indoor skydiving facility through the city in the East Village and a piece of land in Kearny Mesa that is intended as a repair yard for fire engines and is also uninhabitable.

SELECTED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

News from San Diego; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories about politics, education, health, the environment, border, and more. New episodes are ready on weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and Imperial County’s NPR and PBS broadcaster.

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Andrew Bowen

Metro reporter

opening quotation marksclosing quotation marksI deal with local government – a broad beat that encompasses housing, homelessness, and infrastructure. I am particularly interested in the intersections of land use, traffic and climate change.

To view PDF documents, download Acrobat Reader.

Continue Reading

Real Estate News

Doma, the Company Architecting the Future of Real Estate Transactions, Completes Business Combination with Capitol Investment Corp. V

Published

on

SAN FRANCISCO – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Doma Holdings, Inc. (formerly known as States Title Holding, Inc.) (“Doma”), a leading force in disruptive change in the real estate industry, and Capitol Investment Corp. V (NYSE: CAP) (“Capitol”), a publicly traded special purpose vehicle, today completed its previously announced business combination. Doma leverages machine intelligence and its proprietary technology solutions to create an easier, more efficient and more affordable real estate deal experience for current and potential homeowners, lenders, title agents and real estate professionals. The combined company’s common stock and warrants are expected to trade on July 29, 2021 on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DOMA and DOMA.WS, respectively.

The proceeds from the transaction will be used by Doma to drive growth, both through market expansion and new product development aimed at expanding the strategic advantage customers receive from Doma’s machine intelligence platform. Capitol shareholders approved the transaction at a special meeting instead of the 2021 annual general meeting on July 27, 2021. CEO Max Simkoff and the rest of the Doma management team will continue to lead the combined company.

“For us, this transaction is about accelerating our ability to penetrate and revolutionize first the antiquated $ 23 billion title, escrow and closure market, and finally the broader $ 318 billion home ownership services market.” said Simkoff. “Ultimately, our vision is to have many of the most important experiences when buying a home, instantly and digitally. Today’s milestone is evidence of Doma’s impressive growth to date and the strength of our business. We look forward to this next phase as a stock corporation. ”

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. acted as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal advisor to Doma. JP Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Capitol. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. also acted as capital markets advisor to Capitol. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and JP Morgan Securities LLC acted as PIPE placement agents with JMP Securities LLC, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and DA Davidson & Co. acted as co-placement agents.

About Doma

Doma (formerly States Title Holding, Inc.) is shaping the future of real estate transactions. The company uses machine intelligence and its patented technology solutions to transform residential real estate and make closures instant and affordable. Doma and its family of brands – States Title, North American Title Company (NATC), and North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) – provide solutions for current and potential homeowners, lenders, title agents and real estate professionals that greatly simplify and efficiently close deals, reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction. Doma customers include some of the largest bank and non-bank lenders in the United States. To learn more, visit www.doma.com.

Legend for forward-looking statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. “plan”, “project”, “predict”, “intend”, “will”, “expect.” “,“ Anticipate, ”“ believe, ”“ seek, ”“ seek, ”or other similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. The absence of these words does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking. Such statements are based on beliefs and assumptions about the information currently available to Doma’s management.

These forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements regarding estimates and projections of financial and performance metrics, projections of market opportunities, total addressable market (“TAM”), market share and competition, and potential benefits of the transactions described herein. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not mentioned in this press release, and current expectations of Doma management and are not predictions of actual performance. These forward-looking statements are presented for illustrative purposes only and are not intended as a guarantee, assurance, prediction or final determination of fact or probability and should not be relied upon as such by any investor. Actual events and circumstances are difficult or impossible to predict, differ from assumptions, and are beyond Doma’s control.

These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including changes in business, market, financial, political and legal conditions; Failure to achieve the expected benefits of the business combination; Risks related to the uncertainty in the forecast financial information relating to Doma; future global, regional or local economic, political, market-related and social conditions, including due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the development, impact and enforcement of laws and regulations, including those related to the title insurance industry; Doma’s ability to manage its future growth or to develop or acquire improvements to its platform; the impact of competition on Doma’s future business; the outcome of potential legal disputes, governmental and regulatory proceedings, investigations and investigations; and the other factors described in the “Risk Factors” section of Doma’s filings with the SEC from time to time.

Should any of these risks materialize, or should Doma’s assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from those implied in these forward-looking statements. There may be additional risks that Doma is not currently aware of or that Doma currently considers to be immaterial and which could also mean that the actual results differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Additionally, forward-looking statements reflect Doma’s expectations, plans or projections of future events and beliefs as of the date of this press release. Doma assumes that subsequent events and developments will lead to a change in Doma’s assessments. Although Doma may update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, Doma expressly disclaims any obligation to do so, unless required by law. These forward-looking statements should not be taken as a representation of Doma’s opinion at any time after the date of this press release. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements.

Continue Reading

Real Estate News

What Would Equitable Real Estate Finance Look Like? – Non Profit News

Published

on

“The Art of RE Membership, How To Be Human,” Lola Audu

“Real estate is a big issue in America,” noted Avery Ebron, who runs The Guild’s Atlanta business. Ebron made these remarks last month at a press conference to mark the release of the Inclusive Capital Collective’s (ICC) first “black paper” entitled Building Community Wealth: Shifting Power and Capital in Real Estate Finance. Ebron co-authored this paper with The Guild CEO Nikishka Iyengar and Chicago Trend CEO Lyneir Richardson. The report provides an important framework not only to identify how structural racism is penalizing real estate development by and for BIPOC communities, but also to identify specific changes that could significantly reduce these barriers.

ICC defines itself as “a growing network of community fund managers and entrepreneurship support organizations that have designed and developed a common technical and financial infrastructure for the aggregation and delivery of financial capital and other resources to entrepreneurs and colored communities in the United States.” The group was formed at a meeting in Denver in the fall of 2019 and is incubated by the 2015 Zebras Unite Cooperative, which aims to promote access to capital for socially minded companies, especially women-owned and black-owned companies.

Often the discussion about real estate focuses on home ownership and the gap between black and white ownership rates. Here, however, the focus is less on residential properties and more on the actual real estate development business. As Amanda Abrams wrote in the New York Times earlier this year, “Commercial real estate remains an area where the vast majority of developers are white.” Abrams found that a 2013 industry survey found that only 4.4 percent of the commercial real estate professionals were blacks. A recent 2020 survey by the Urban Land Institute found that only five percent of its members were black, while 82 percent were white.

In their paper, the authors state that “current community development practices and institutions tend to focus on outcomes (especially affordable housing) rather than outcomes that drive structural change.” In their report, Iyengar and her co-authors claim that a commercial Real estate industry, in which blacks and other colored real estate entrepreneurs played a bigger role, would not only be more diverse and inclusive, but would also focus on the goal of collective wealth creation. According to the authors, a “community-centered” real estate market would:

  • Prioritize affordable operating space for local BIPOC businesses
  • Be more democratic and involve community organizers, small business owners and local residents in the development process
  • Focus on providing space for important common goods like groceries and common areas
  • Leverage infill development to support affordable rents and home ownership that stabilize existing BIPOC neighborhoods
  • Create opportunities for blacks, indigenous peoples and other colored residents to have a stake in commercial real estate
  • Better connect residents and businesses to public resources such as technical assistance, basic financial literacy programs and business grants

Real estate redesign for equity

An important contribution of the report is that it provides a thoughtful list of both the barriers to equitable real estate development and potential solutions. As Joe Neri, CEO of IFF, a leading Chicago-based community development financial institution (CDFI), explained, one of the many effects structural racism has on real estate is that BIPOC neighborhoods are valued lower than white neighborhoods, what it is makes it more difficult to fund projects (as the credits are drawn up to a percentage of the appraised value), which means that a developer has to raise more money.

As Neri put it, “Old government-sanctioned banking regulations have depreciated property for decades, and now current banking regulations prevent investment in areas where appraisals are low.” Building on Neri, the ICC report calls for one “Income-based lending” (ie, lending based on a percentage of the income the project is expected to generate), which is forward-looking, not ratings that bake in past discrimination.

The authors describe specific loan products that could lower financing costs for BIPOC real estate developers. These include “patient justice,” which the authors of the report describe as a long time horizon (e.g. 10 years), low interest rates (zero to five percent), and provisions to protect development projects from early costs (e.g. payments for the first 12 to 24 years of age) Months of the loan). Foundations, according to the authors, are the most likely providers of such funding, and that funding could be five percent of the project’s value. Another 20 percent of the financing structure could be “friendly debt”, such as low-interest loans from CDFIs. The remaining 75 percent could be standard bank loans. In other words, while the need for philanthropic assistance is clear, the report also shows how limited philanthropic dollars can enable more common commercial funding.

The authors also describe additional steps in overcoming barriers – for example, easier access to credit lines, reducing zone restrictions, loan guarantees (possibly from CDFIs or foundations) to reduce interest costs, and partnering with public land banks to help BIPOC real estate developers get low-cost land.

In the report’s conclusion, the authors note that “there is an abundance of black developers creating equitable and contextualized real estate solutions for their communities – transforming the way real estate development is done and transforming them into a vector for creating Transforming Prosperity for All Americans ”. In the appendices to the report, the authors document this through case studies of BIPOC-owned real estate companies in four cities – Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta and Fort Myers in Florida.

When the report was released, Kevin Williams, a member of the Black Squirrel Collective in Philadelphia, spoke about the urgency of the work. “You see a lot of study and research into the plight of minorities in America,” noted Williams. “But you don’t see any follow-up. Someone writes a newspaper and says black people are poor. Yeah we know that. But has anyone followed up to see what was being done to address this issue? … We have to keep being vocal … and we have to keep pushing the point that justice has to happen. “

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending