- BBC News World
Four weeks after the collapse of Champlain Towers South in the town of Surfside, north of Miami Beach, which left at least 97 dead, the controversy continues over what to do with the land on which the building stood.
A few days ago, a judge approved the sale of the land where the 12-story building was located, which collapsed at dawn on June 24 for causes that are still being investigated.
Miami-Dade Judge Michael Hanzman made the decision with the aim that the victims of the collapse can be financially compensated, both those who survived and those who lost their lives.
It is estimated that the terrain could sell for more than $ 100 million to a property developer interested in building a new building. Local media assured that some companies have already shown their interest in the site.
To those US $ 100 million would have to be added about US $ 50 million to be paid by insurers, so that those affected by the collapse – many of whom have lost everything – would distribute at least US $ 150 million.
“The concern of the court has always been the victims present here,” the judge said at a hearing on Wednesday, adding that the group of those who will be compensated includes visitors and tenants, and not just landlords. “Your rights will be protected.”
The $ 150 million does not include any damages that can be obtained from the numerous lawsuits that have already been filed after the collapse.
The decision to authorize the sale of the land for the construction of a new building some of the relatives of the deceased have not liked, who consider that it is too early to deal with this matter and believe that at the site of the collapse a memorial should be erected to remember the victims.
Soriya Cohen, who lost her husband Brad in the collapse, said in an interview with local television that she did not understand the judge’s decision.
“I can’t even imagine such desecration. Imagine if that was your spouse, your parents, or your grandparents and they relied on it to make money.”
Cohen said the site should be treated like a graveyard and build on it would be a lack of respect for the dead.
In an editorial published a few days ago, the newspaper Miami Herald it also ensured that a new building should not be built without including a memorial for the victims
“While we agree with the judge’s intention to compensate families as generously as possible, these families’ dissatisfaction with the decision is a reminder that emotions are so stark, that even well-intentioned decisions will not please everyone at large. every step of the long, long road that this case must travel, “read the editorial.
Attorney Renier Díaz de la Portilla, who represents Martin Lagesfeld, who lost his sister Nicole and brother-in-law Louis Sadovnic in the collapse, told the Miami Herald: “This is not about money; There are religious reasons why families want the land to be preserved as a monument. These victims need a proper memorial and burial. “
In any case, in a hearing on Wednesday, several of the owners who survived the collapse told the judge that they want the land to be sold in order to recover some of what they have lost.
Meanwhile, a few days ago, the mayor of Surfside assured that the memorial for the victims could be built in a nearby park.
This Wednesday local media published some images in which it is seen that the lot where Champlain Towers South was built is now practically clean and clear.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement that the site of the building collapse “has been cleared for the most part” and the debris was moved to an area near the airport, as recovery teams “continue. seeking with enormous care and diligence “to recover any possible victim.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.