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Miami-Dade courthouse evacuated after building inspection finds 'safety concerns'

The review was prompted by the partial collapse of a Miami Beach-area condo building.
Historic Miami-Dade County Courthouse building in downtown Miami. The black flag in the picture is POW/MIA flag
Miami-Dade County Courthouse building in downtown Miami.Emir Shabashvili / / Alamy

A historic courthouse has been evacuated after engineers identified "safety concerns" following a review of the building's structural integrity that was prompted by the deadly collapse of a Miami Beach-area condo building, Miami-Dade County officials said Friday night.

An engineer’s report recommended floors 16 and above be closed to staff at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse "while repairs are swiftly completed," according to a joint statement from Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Chief Judge Nushin Sayfie, and Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin.

The courthouse, completed in 1928, is where most civil cases are heard. The 28-story building also houses some administrative offices.

Court staff had recently returned to the building after working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the evacuation, court operations will go back to a remote format until repairs to address safety concerns are finalized, officials said. Specific details about what repairs are needed were not disclosed, but officials added that the courthouse’s basement would also undergo an inspection to determine whether additional repairs are also needed there.

People with upcoming court proceedings scheduled to take place in person will receive a new notice with instructions, according to the statement.

Problems with leaks, mold and issues with the courthouse's facade have been reported at the building over the years. But Miami-Dade County is currently in the early stages of construction of a new civil courthouse, with plans to sell the historic building.

The courthouse underwent a review following the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside two weeks ago. The Surfside building collapse has killed at least 86 people; 43 others remain unaccounted for.

The structural integrity of several other buildings have been reviewed as part of a citywide audit on condo high-rises above five stories, prompting evacuations at other buildings such as North Miami condominium complex after it was deemed unsafe last week.