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Miami courthouse partially shut down after review spurred by condo collapse

The historic building will close its upper floors and return to remote work for employees and court operations.
The Miami-Dade County Courthouse in Miami, shown here in October, will begin undergoing repairs immediately after a review found safety concerns within the building. The review was prompted by the collapse of a condo building in Surfside.
The Miami-Dade County Courthouse in Miami, shown here in October, will begin undergoing repairs immediately after a review found safety concerns within the building. The review was prompted by the collapse of a condo building in Surfside. [ WILFREDO LEE | AP ]
Published Jul. 10, 2021

MIAMI — The Miami-Dade County Courthouse will begin undergoing repairs immediately after a review, prompted by the deadly collapse of a nearby condominium building, found that safety concerns exist within the courthouse, officials said.

A joint statement from multiple leaders released late Friday said an engineer’s report recommended floors 16 and above be closed to staff at the courthouse. The leaders decided all courthouse employees would go back to working from home.

The courthouse, a historic building completed in 1928, is where most civil cases are heard and contains some administrative offices. Separate courthouses for criminal, children’s and family cases are not affected.

The statement said workers only recently returned to the building after working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Court operations will go back to a remote format until the safety concerns are addressed. People with upcoming court proceedings scheduled to take place in person will be receiving a new notice with instructions, the statement said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Circuit Court Chief Judge Nushin Sayfie and Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin released the statement.

Specific details about what repairs are needed were not disclosed. The courthouse was built in 1928 and added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1989, news outlets reported. The building has 28 floors.

Miami-Dade County is in the early stages of construction of a new civil courthouse, with plans to sell the historic building. Over the years it has been beset by leaks, mold and issues with its facade.

The building underwent a review following the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, which has left at least 79 people dead with 61 people unaccounted for.

Several other buildings have been reviewed to search for any structural concerns, and some — such as a condo building in North Miami Beach — have been evacuated.

The statement said the courthouse’s basement would also undergo an inspection to determine whether additional repairs are needed.

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