After settlement, sale, questions still surround site of Surfside condo collapse
On the site where the Champlain Towers South condominium building once stood, questions still haunt the space one year after its collapse.
"Nobody is taking any blame whatsoever," P.J. Rodriguez told WPTV. "Nobody's taking any accountability whatsoever. It's just, you know, 'Here's money. Let's make this go away.'"
Rodriguez's mother, Elena Blasser, 64, and grandmother, Elena Chavez, 88, were among the 98 who died in the June 24, 2021, building collapse.
A judge on Thursday signed off on a settlement of more than $1 billion for the victims and their families, stunning nearly everyone involved for its amount and how quickly it came about.
"It's just a remarkable accomplishment," attorney Rachel Furst, co-chair lead counsel in the Surfside collapse litigation, told WPTV.
But Rodriguez doesn't see it that way. He called it a "financial 'I'm sorry for your loss.'"
A Dubai-based developer recently purchased the property for $120 million. Of that figure, $96 million is going to condo owners and their heirs. Plans for the site include a luxury condo.
Michael Fay, whose firm was tasked with marketing the land, said many of the developers who expressed interest in the property believed they were "helping the survivors, as well as all the families of those who've had lost loved ones, to get past this and to move forward."
Still, Rodriguez said it's "a little sad thinking that there's going to be this brand-new high-rise building where my mother died, where my grandmother died."
Rodriguez said he's hoping for something appropriate to honor all the victims.
"I think it would be nice to have maybe some poles or something put up along the boardwalk in front with their names and just the date, something simple," he said. "My mom, in particular, was a very simple person. She loved walking up and down that boardwalk. So, I think if they did something like that, for me, personally, that would be enough."
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