Developers, family discuss memorial for collapse victims

Sep 19, 2022, 6:22 AM | Updated: 6:25 pm

FILE - A giant tarp, bottom, covers a section of rubble where search and rescue personnel have been...

FILE - A giant tarp, bottom, covers a section of rubble where search and rescue personnel have been working at the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla., on July 4, 2021. Lawyers who secured a $1.1 billion settlement in the deadly collapse last year of the beachfront Florida condominium building were awarded more than $70 million in fees Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 by a judge. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Developers and city officials pushed back on family members’ expectations during a meeting held Monday to discuss a memorial for 98 people who died last year when a beachfront Florida condominium building collapsed.

Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger hosted representatives from DAMAC Properties and people whose loved ones died when the Champlain Towers South building fell on June 24, 2021.

“We all would have loved to build something, a park or something,” Danzinger said of the site. “But by order of the judge, it was sold. It’s now private property.”

Dubai-based DAMAC purchased the 1.8-acre (1-hectare) beachside site for $120 million earlier this year. It’s not clear yet what structure will rise on the site, but DAMAC’s business focuses on luxury residential, commercial and leisure properties.

The town of Surfside has already set aside space for a memorial near the collapse site, but family members are hoping to have some kind of memorial on the site itself.

Danzinger suggested working with the town to adjust some easements to accommodate a memorial near the edge of the lot.

Martin Langesfeld, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the collapse, said he would like the memorial to mark where the victims actually died.

“We do want to work around the area where a majority of the people and most of the blood was,” Langesfeld said.

The problem for developers is that most of the people died in the buildable portion of the lot.

“When you start asking for 50 feet or 70 feet into the site, because that’s where the building was, that becomes something which is very difficult for us to be able to look at and say we can give up a third or a half of the development,” DAMAC representative Jeff Rossely said.

A Miami-Dade County circuit judge approved a settlement for the victims and property owners in June that totaled $1.1 billion, which includes the sale of the lot. The settlement money also comes from dozens of other sources, including insurance companies, engineering firms and a luxury condominium building whose recent construction next door is suspected of contributing to structural damage. None of the parties admit any wrongdoing.

A final conclusion on the cause of the collapse is likely years away. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is overseeing the investigation.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Altman on T...

Associated Press

OpenAI CEO suggests international agency like UN’s nuclear watchdog could oversee AI

Artificial intelligence poses an “existential risk” to humanity, a key innovator warned during a visit to the United Arab Emirates

9 hours ago

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Missing Mount Rainier climber’s body found in crevasse; he was celebrating 80th birthday

Search crews on Mount Rainier have found the body of a man matching the description of an 80-year-old solo climber reported missing

1 day ago

Washington gun restrictions...

Associated Press

Judge rejects attempt to block new Washington state gun restrictions

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request to block a new Washington state law banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles

2 days ago

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children

2 days ago

FILE - OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman gestures while speaking at University College London as part of his ...

Associated Press

OpenAI boss ‘heartened’ by talks with world leaders over will to contain AI risks

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said Monday he was encouraged by a desire shown by world leaders to contain any risks posed by the artificial intelligence technology his company and others are developing.

3 days ago

FILE - The draft of a bill that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., neg...

Associated Press

Debt deal imposes new work requirements for food aid and that frustrates many Democrats

Democrats are deeply conflicted about the debt ceiling deal, fearing damage has been done to safety net programs

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

Developers, family discuss memorial for collapse victims