Towers, just outside of North Miami Beach, will have its concrete restored
and its electrical system updated to ensure its two high rises are
Article Courtesy of The Miami
By Donna Gehrke-White
February 6, 2011
Buckley Towers, near
North Miami Beach, will have its concrete restored and electrical system
updated as the county inspectors oversee the massive project.
The condo association for
the complex’s 564 units is already at work, bidding out the projects,
President Peggy A. Stroker said. The association should have contractors
within a couple of months, she added.
The renovation averages
out to about $32,000 per unit but Stroker says unpaid insurance claims
from 2005’s Hurricane Wilma will help pay for the massive work. The
association has been in court over the non-payment.
believe in the judicial system," Stroker said.
“I believe we will prevail."
weeks ago, the Miami-Dade Unsafe Structures Board gave
the condo association 53 months to make all the
repairs after the complex had been cited for repeated
violations. Stroker vowed the condos will meet the
deadline. Buckley Towers is also committed to filing
on time its required 90-day updates on work done, she
members “were stern, but they want the right thing
done," added Stroker, who also is a vice chair on
the Miami-Dade Community Council.
Towers, located in the 1300 block of Northeast Miami
Gardens Drive, has missed previous deadlines but
Stroker is part of a new board that has been finishing
work on time, said Ricardo “Rick” Roig, director
of the Miami-Dade Building Code Support Office.
Buckley Towers on Miami Gardens Drive, which suffered
damage from Hurricane Wilma, will undergo a multi-million
show that building inspectors have been citing the twin towers for more
than two years. One concern was the lack of work done to repair the two
buildings’ roofs after Wilma, Roig said. That work has been recently
completed, Stroker said. Indeed, part of the reason the condo
association owes more than $1 million is because of the repairs to the
roof, she said.
also did not complete the required 40-year structural inspection but an
engineer is now working on that.
The engineer has
done a preliminary inspection and certified the complex’s two
buildings are safe for occupancy – which the county was demanding,
Roig said. “We requested that would be taken care of immediately and
the engineer took responsibility," he said.
“Let me say
this: The towers are not in dire shape," Roig added.
But the county
wants to make sure older buildings are safe. The required 40-year
inspection of buildings was instituted in the 1970s after a major older
complex collapsed, Roig said. His department is in charge of overseeing
the 40-year inspections for the unincorporated part of the county.
Cities, including Miami, Miami Beach and Sunny Isles Beach, watch over
the 40-year inspections in their boundaries.
Towers’ two buildings each have 17 floors and are among the county’s
oldest high rise condominium properties. The complex was once a haven
for well-off snowbirds. The complex has since attracted buyers who live
and work year-round in Miami-Dade.
has been beset with problems after Hurricane Wilma did major damage
in 2005. Then the real estate market collapsed and many owners stopped
paying their association dues. At one point half the owners were not
contributing to the condo complex’s maintenance, but Stroker took over
a year ago and has reduced that to about a third.
The economic woes
contributed to the previous board not making repairs and following
through on the required 40-year inspection, Stroker said.
Building officials said
they were sympathetic -- but they still have to think of
While Buckley Towers’
work is being done in the next 4 ½ years, unit owners and renters
will be required to evacuate if there a hurricane watch, Roig said.
with condo board president Stroker.
Roig added that other
older buildings in north Miami-Dade have also had financial problems
but the great majority have maintained their properties and are
One of the main
concerns for the 40-year inspection is to make sure salt water has not
eroded buildings’ concrete to the point of threatening the
structure. In 2005, for example, about 30 feet of a stairwell
collapsed at the aging two-story Seashore condominium complex in Sunny
Isles Beach. Officials blamed it on spalling – or the salt water
erosion -- not being detected until the stairwell collapsed.
Like many other older
buildings in South Florida, Buckley Towers has evidence of spalling
but unit owners and renters will not have to move while crews work on
restoring the concrete, Stroker said.
restoration will be done in two different phases," she said.
The electrical work
will update the two buildings’ wiring, making them safer, Stroker
An added bonus is that
the work will “make the buildings environmentally friendly and
conserve energy," she said. “That will save on utility bills
down the road."