Miami cracks down on idle construction sites

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

In its efforts to shut down inactive construction sites citywide, the City of Miami has filed a lawsuit against the developer of one such real estate developer. The lawsuit argues that the site is potentially dangerous in its current condition and that it looks unattractive. Unfortunately many projects which made great financial sense during better financial times, suddenly became unfeasible once real estate market values dropped. Now many developers find themselves with unfinished projects and idle construction sites.

Reports describe the site in question as a vacant lot filled with holes, dangerous ledges, metal grating, stagnant water, graffiti and walls that look likely to collapse. The project was once intended to become two towers, but it was abandoned after the housing crash.

The site’s developer contends that it sent multiple clean-up crews to the site, ridiculing the city’s accusation as “absurd.” The developer is currently undergoing bankruptcy, which could complicate the lawsuit according to one inspector. The bankruptcy filing has requested a stay on the lawsuit during the litigation.

The inspector told reporters that the city is only attempting to get the developer to either continue the project and bring the site up to code or fill the site’s holes and remove any potential hazards. As long as the site can be made adequately safe, explained the inspector, the city does not plan to take any further action.

If the lawsuit is effective in shutting down the project, it will likely have implications on several other locations. The City of Miami has named a number of sites in the Little Havana and other areas as potential legal targets.

Source: Miami Herald “Miami aims to shut down inactive construction sites” Aug. 1, 2011