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Judge sets date for auction to sell former Champlain property in Surfside

Dubai-based developer agrees to move forward with contract to purchase former Champlain Towers South property in Surfside.
Verónica Zaragovia
Dubai-based developer agrees to move forward with contract to purchase former Champlain Towers South property in Surfside.

A May 24 date has been set to sell the beachfront property in Surfside where the Champlain Towers South collapse took place last year.

Almost a year after the collapse of a condominium building in Surfside that killed 98 people, the beachfront property will be sold in an auction.

The purchaser is a Dubai-based developer, DAMAC Properties, which has agreed to move forward and buy the land for at least $120 million. As part of the agreement, the purchaser will also need to deposit $34 million with the escrow agent, to increase the total earnest money deposit to $50 million.

"So called putting their money where their mouth is," said the court-appointed receiver, Michael Goldberg, at the start of the last hearing on May 4. "If the court will entertain moving the auction that is required to take place, where the court will consider higher and better bids, if any, from what would be June 20 under the contract to the week of May 23rd."

"There's tremendous geopolitical risk in the world. I don't know what's happening in Europe and if it escalates — in addition to rising interest rates," Goldberg said. "Therefore, judge, I strongly recommend that the court grant this motion."

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman agreed to set the auction date for May 24 in the morning.

"It is the court’s intention, once this property is sold at auction in a few weeks, to move the closing process quickly, close this transaction and pay the amounts to the condo owners that the court approved," Hanzman said.

The money will go towards the $83 million settlement for condo unit owners who survived. The auction will take place at theMiami-Dade Children’s Courthouse.

"We could have zero bidders or up to a dozen bidders," said Avison Young's Michael Fay, who was appointed by the court to oversee the auction. "Most of the people that we’ve been speaking with have been waiting for this day. They wanted to know if DAMAC would go at risk on their deposit, which they have. So this helps build the case. Everybody now knows what they have to do to become a part of this auction process."

Bidders have to make their deposits and file their bids by Friday, May 20.

Hanzman said he will take $750,000 from the $83 million settlement for expenses, like maintaining the property all of these months and paying the attorneys who've been working pro bono.

On Wednesday he said that the sale of the property will not preclude the Miami-Dade state attorney from accessing the property to finish an investigation.
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Verónica Zaragovia