A billionaire Dubai developer is set to buy the site of a South Florida condominium that collapsed last June, killing 98 people, for $120 million after no further bids were submitted by the Friday night deadline for next week’s auction.
Michael Fay of Avison Young said hundreds of potential buyers had expressed an interest in the property, but none were ultimately ready to match the strong initial offer from Hussain Sajwani of DAMAC Properties. Avison Young is the commercial real estate company that has been named to market the land in the class action lawsuit.
The auction of the 1.8 acre (0.72 hectare) parcel in Surfside was scheduled for Tuesday. Earlier this month, the victims’ families reached a $997 million settlement with local officials, developers of an adjacent building and others they hold responsible for the collapse of the 40-year-old 12-story beachfront building in the early hours of June 24.
Most of the Champlain South towers collapsed suddenly around 1:20 a.m. on June 24 when most of its inhabitants were asleep. Only three people survived the initial collapse. No other survivors were found despite the round-the-clock efforts of rescuers who dug a 40ft (12m) pile of rubble for two weeks. Three dozen more people were in the part of the building that remained standing.
Residents and visitors to the condo formed a melting pot: Orthodox Jews, Latin Americans, Israelis, Europeans and snowbirds from the Northeast.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is investigating the cause of the collapse, a process that is expected to take years.