Developer seeking approval to build condo tower on site of Champlain Tower collapse

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Florida Construction News staff writer

The new landowner has submitted plans to build a new condominium building at the Champlain Towers collapse site in Surfside.

DAMAC International, a Dubai-based developer, is seeking approval to build a 12-story “ultra-luxury boutique oceanfront condominium” with 57 residences on the site.

The developer purchased the property for $120 million, public property records show.

“While no work of architecture can ever remove the pain of the past, nor should it, a truly ambitious work of architecture can respect such a significant site,” Chris Lepine, director of architecture and design firm Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), said in a press release.

ZHA has produced a pair of design variations for a 12-story ultra-luxury boutique oceanfront condominium at 8777 Collins Ave. where the 12-story, 135-unit Champlain Towers South partially collapsed on June 24, 2021. Investigators said the building had been unstable and in need of structural repair. At the time of the collapse, the property was in the midst of an inspection.

“We are honored to have been chosen for this very special project. While no work of architecture can ever remove the pain of the past, nor should it, a truly ambitious work of architecture can respect such a significant site,” said ZHA director Chris Lepine. “It’s a great responsibility to be providing this vision for Surfside.”

The two-design submission is based on alternative interpretations of the town planning ordinances. The first which steps in on the south elevation and the second with consistent elevations on all sides. The intention, according to the developer, is to provide the town with designs that accord to the ordinances and meet the highest design standards possible under each interpretation.

Both designs feature a twin-building duality, with a sculptural form modulated with nested crescents that coalesce at the corners. These soft, cloud-like elements, stretch pull and contract emulating the ebb and flow of the ocean to animate the façade. Balconies stagger, never aligning vertically, to give variety to every floor and so that horizontal movement is emphasized. Balcony extensions, shading elements and geometric curves help to ensure privacy between condominiums and their adjacent spaces with a contemporary reinterpretation of privacy fins, a characteristic detail of Miami Modernism’s (MiMO) patterned screens filtering the strong Miami sun.

Community amenities will include a 100-foot rooftop pool bridging across the atrium between the north/south arms of the building with direct views of Downtown, as well as a 75-foot indoor exercise pool.

“We are pleased to submit our planning application, featuring Zaha Hadid Architects’ design variations for the Town’s approval,” said Niall Mc Loughlin, DAMAC International senior vice-president of communications. “They have raised their own bar once more with these two design variations, expertly weaving together form and space to engage the senses and create an unrivalled ultra-luxury experience and a true sense of place.”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has said the investigation into the Champlain Tower collapse will be completed – next spring, and a report with recommendations will follow a year later.

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