Surfside Condo Units Still Listed for Sale Six Months After Tower Collapse Tragedy

Condo adverts promise "spectacular ocean views" views and "endless potential;" one even speaks of a "well maintained building." In reality, each unit lay wrecked on the beach front this summer, a tomb to 98 people who died when the building collapsed.

Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Miami, crumbled in the early hours of June 24, yet almost six months on, units are still listed online for sale or to rent by realtor HQ Realty.

Six ads—five for sale, one to rent—for the former 12-story beachfront property include one for a four-bedroom penthouse at $3.1 million, and an ocean-facing unit at $915,000.

Those who lost loved ones in the collapse are calling for the company to take down the adverts, as other responsible websites did immediately.

"It is very painful and utterly disgusting to see how some Miami realtors are taking advantage of the dead and are still marketing the properties where so many died to make more sales and get more website clicks," Martin Langesfeld told Newsweek.

Condo listings still online
A listing for a penthouse unit at Champlain Towers South remained online almost six months after the building partially collapsed. HQ Realty
Champlain Towers listing still online
An ocean-facing unit costing $915,000 was also listed for sale on HQ Realty's website. HQ Realty

He lost his sister Nicole Langesfeld and her husband, Luis Sadovonic, who had moved into an apartment on the eighth floor of the tower just a few months before the collapse.

Monica Iken-Murphy, who is campaigning alongside Langesfeld and other families of the victims for a memorial on the site the building stood, called the online listings "disturbing."

"First of all, get all those apartments off, they're gone," Iken-Murphy, who advocated for the 9/11 memorial after losing her husband in the 2001 terror attacks, told Newsweek.

"That's very disturbing, especially for family members who lost loved ones... to have to think about the fact that there's something out there that says there are units available."

HQ Realty has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

It remains an active company with a current principal place of business listed as Miami, according to a Florida Limited Liability Company annual report filed in April 2021.

It also has an affiliated office in Madrid and Buenos Aires, according to its website.

Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Miami.
An aerial view shows search and rescue personnel working on site after the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, on June 24, 2021. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images
The site of the collapsed condominium, July.
Another aerial view, seen on July 31, 2021, shows the cleared lot that was where the collapsed 12-story condo building once stood. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Champlain Towers was in the midst of its 40-year structural review when it collapsed without warning, triggering weeks off search and rescue efforts.

Federal and state probes are underway to determine what happened. A lawsuit filed last month on behalf of victims and family members contends that construction on a luxury building next door to Champlain Towers triggered the collapse.

Champlain Towers "was an older building in need of routine repairs and maintenance, but it was not until excavation and construction began on the luxury high-rise condominium project next door" that the building became unsafe, the lawsuit says.

A plan to possibly sell the almost two-acre site to a UAE-based developer was approved earlier this year, with any sale of the site to benefit victims that survived the disaster.

However, a proposed $120 million sales contract made no mention of a memorial at the site. The property will be put up for auction next year to see if other interested buyers may be willing to pay more.

Langesfeld, who has launched a petition calling for a memorial, hit out at local and state politicians for not doing enough to honor those who lost their lives.

"After such a horrific tragedy, the only right thing to do for the honor of those who no longer have a voice is to respect them with a memorial on the site where they died, not one inch away," he said. "How is it possible that another building could go up in a place where we do not know why one fell?"

Nicole Langesfeld and her husband Luis Sadovonic
Nicole Langesfeld and her husband Luis Sadovonic lost their lives after the condo building crumbled to the ground in June. Alejandra Torres
Memorial site at Surfside.
Bernardo Camou Font places an Uruguayan flag at a memorial site for victims of the collapsed building on July 8, 2021. Families are calling for a permanent memorial at the site where the building once stood. The final death toll stood at 98 people. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Langesfeld added: "Our political leaders have the resources to not only honor those who were horrifically killed, but also save the lives of countless individuals in the near future. We need our political leaders to please work with us in honoring those who died."

Meanwhile, a judge last week said a trial in 2022 is likely for lawsuits seeking millions in damages for the victims, family members and property owners, according to the Associated Press.

A mediator has been appointed to work out how to allocate damages, insurance proceeds and land sale money between wrongful death victims and those who lost property.

A handwritten note at the makeshift memorial.
A handwritten note at the makeshift memorial near the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building stood in Surfside, Florida, on July 24, 2021. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images) CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images