A billionaire developer from Dubai is set to purchase the site of a South Florida condominium that collapsed last June, killing 98 people, for $120 million after no other bids were submitted by the Friday evening deadline for next week's auction.
Michael Fay, of Avison Young, said hundreds of potential buyers had shown interest in the property, but none were ultimately prepared to match the strong initial bid of Hussain Sajwani, of DAMAC Properties. Avison Young is the commercial real estate firm that was appointed to market the land as part of a class-action lawsuit.
The auction for the 1.8-acre (0.72-hectare) parcel in Surfside was scheduled for Tuesday. Earlier this month, families of the victims reached a $997 million settlement with local officials, the developers of an adjacent building and others whom they hold responsible for the collapse of the 40-year-old, 12-story beachside building during the early hours of June 24.
Most of the Champlain Towers South collapsed suddenly about 1:20 a.m. last June 24 as most of its residents slept. Only three people survived the initial collapse. No other survivors were found despite the around-the-clock efforts of rescuers who dug through a 40-foot (12-meter) pile of rubble for two weeks. Another three dozen people were in the portion of the building that remained standing.
The condominium's residents and visitors 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.