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Florida, Maryland firms to demolish Miami Beach area condo

The two companies that have the job of bringing down the rest of the Champlain Towers South also worked together to bring down South Shore Hospital on Alton Road in South Beach in 2019.

Steve Greenberg, founder of Delray’s The BG Group, said his company was the contractor with Controlled Demolition, Inc., out of Phoenix, Maryland, as the subcontractor handling the explosives.

State records say Greenberg started The BG Group in January 2003. Among the familiar buildings the company claims to have brought down are the Miami Arena; the downtown Miami Howard Johnson’s hotel; the Miami Herald building on Biscayne Bay, and, in Surfside, the Surf Club.

Over the past 10 years, The BG Group has been fined twice by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A proposed fine of $4,900 for an air quality violation during a 2015 job at the South Beach Marriott was settled for $3,430. A proposed $5,950 fine got settled for $2,976. BG Group workers didn’t use a chute when tossing down materials from higher than two stories and there was a fall protection violation.

An online search turned up no OSHA violations for Controlled Demolitions, Inc., which was involved in bringing down Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, Seattle’s Kingdome, J.L. Hudson’s Department Store in Detroit, the Trump Plaza Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City and hundreds of other buildings since its founding in 1947. CDI also imploded a coal-powered Florida Power & Light plant in Indiantown.

Last year, CDI, MCM Management and Hilco Redevelopment Partners paid $370,000 after a smokestack destruction“blanketed a low-income neighborhood with toxic dust,” according to a Law360.com article.

A change of demolition plans

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava initially announced Friday evening that officials would not be able to demolish the building until late July, after extensive planning. But after that night’s media briefing, she said, county leaders heard from The BG Group.

“When I spoke to you yesterday evening, we had not heard from this particular demolition expert,” the mayor said during Saturday morning’s briefing. “This expert has the experience to move very quickly.”

She said government engineers reviewed the proposal from The BG Group and CDI overnight and agreed it was feasible. “We all decided this would be a good step forward,” Levine Cava said.

The mayor added: “This proposed demolition is a very narrow footprint. We’re not looking at major impacts of the area or additional evacuations.”

Officials did not give specifics Saturday on how The BG Group’s proposal differed from others. They said it would involve explosive charges, not a wrecking ball, and would be aimed at bringing down the building with minimal impact to the huge rubble pile on the east side of the site — where survivors and victims’ bodies are.

When BG and CDI brought down South Shore Hospital, they did so via the implosion method and had to appeal to the county to do it because Miami Beach doesn’t allow buildings to be brought down by implosion.

Still, a tarp will cover the existing rubble pile so that crews can differentiate what “new debris that fell in that direction,” Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue Chief Alan Kominsky said Saturday. He said the company is already on scene.

“We’ll have them go through the site to determine exactly the process they want. It will be a several-hour process,” Kominsky said.

Greenberg and CDI have yet to answer emailed questions from The Herald. Phone calls to CDI went unanswered Saturday morning.

Follow more of our reporting on Condo Collapse: Disaster in Surfside


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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.

Read More: Florida, Maryland firms to demolish Miami Beach area condo

2021-07-03 15:48:00

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