Buildings On Biltmore Way And Coral Way Displace Cars And Dump Underground Flood Water Onto City Sidewalks And Streets

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]

It happens every storm. It doesn’t require a monsoon or a hurricane. Our average strong rainstorms bring the same result. It rains, their underground parking garages take on water and residents are forced to move their cars onto the streets, followed by water pumps illegally shooting gallons of water onto City sidewalks and City streets.

This was the scene on Thursday, September 29th on Biltmore Way and Coral Way following the impacts of Hurricane Ian on buildings with underground parking.

Hurricane Ian did not even bring that much rain. Gables Insider‘s weather station reported a total event rainfall of 7.6 inches of rain over the three day event, with more than half that rain falling on Monday.

Underground Parking

This is not the first time we report on issues with flooding in garages in this part of the City. As you will recall, we discussed the flooding issues in our reporting about the David William. (READ: Street Parking: City Taking From Residents, To Help Developers And Friends, Without Notification Or Input From Residents).

The David William was one of the buildings with the most egregious violations, placing large hoses over the sidewalk and creating a large moving body of water over the sidewalk in another area and on nearby crosswalks. None of these are allowed. The water is the usual rusty color that residents in the area have become accustomed to seeing and that has already stained the asphalt in the area.

The David William underground parking lot remained closed on Thursday.

However, the David William was not the only culprit. 550 Biltmore Way, 700 Coral Way and 720 Coral Way all had pumps running on Thursday morning. According to residents, other buildings in the area had also been running pumps on Wednesday.

In the case of Coral Way, the entire sidewalk in front of 700 and 720 was under water and unwalkable for any pedestrian, forcing pedestrians to walk on the grass in the swale. (See image below).

The 700 Coral Way building is currently undergoing major renovations. Their dumping is not just affecting Coral Way. The building is actively dumping water in the alley behind the structure into City drains, which is a violation. Three separate dumping stations can be seen in the alley.

700 Coral Way dumping in the alley

Closer to City Hall is 550 Biltmore Way. An office building just a block away from City Hall had a large pump dumping water over the sidewalk and onto the street on Thursday morning. The pump stopped while Gables Insider turned around to take a picture.

550 Coral Way

City Response

According to sources at City Hall, the David William and others have received code enforcement violations for this issue in the past.

Following Gables Insider‘s Ariel Fernandez’s email to Mayor Vince Lago and Commissioner Rhonda Anderson, the Mayor asked City Manager Peter Iglesias for assistance and guidance on this issue. No response had been received from the Manager as of time of publishing.

Underground Parking Concerns

The issue of underground parking in South Florida has long been one of debate. Due to the height of our water table, underground parking can find itself immediately abutting a body of water, as was reported during the construction of the David William.

But for developers, this is the easiest solution to design taller buildings with more of a return on investment.

Most recently, we saw how Ponce Park Residences moved its parking underground during the most recent redesign that was denied by the City’s Board of Architects. Sources familiar with the process inform Gables Insider that developer W. Allen Morris, who is behind the project, intends to propose a new version of the project with a similar height and two stories of underground parking, to maximize on his return.

In the end, the developers never park in these garages. The ones who deal with the consequences of poor design and developers maximizing on their return, are those who will eventually reside in these buildings.


17 thoughts on “Buildings On Biltmore Way And Coral Way Displace Cars And Dump Underground Flood Water Onto City Sidewalks And Streets

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  2. What a biased and poorly informed report.
    1) It is unavoidable to drain the garages due to the fact that there is underground river that overfloods when it rains profusely.
    2) The option to “do nothing” when the garages are full of water is not possible, this is a hazard.
    3) What other option is there? Present an issue and present a viable option instead of chasing down these residents to just result in penalties… provide constructive alternatives… not just wine without recourse…

    You must not read comments placed on your website. The very first comment is a vulgar narrative that has nothing to do with this article…

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  4. It has nothing to do with the amount of rain. There is a river that runs thru Coral Gables, down Biltmore Way and Coral Way, with tributaries down South Dixie Highway all the way to North Kendall Drive where it turns and runs underneath Downtown Dadeland. When the water table rises, due to rain, king tides or hurricanes such as Ian that push enormous amounts of water landside, the basements flood. It doesn’t require many inches of rain to make it happen. It only requires that the water table is impacted for whatever reason. I can’t speak for buildings on Coral Way but on Biltmore they have sump pumps, but the water table rises faster than the pumps can handle.

  5. Underground parking should not be allowed anywhere in the city. Period.
    The building code needs to prohibit this practice and soon.
    Having said that, existing building with underground parking have few options other than pumping the water out into the sewer drains. The city allowed these buildings to be constructed with underground garages, so as far as I am concerned the city cannot penalize the buildings for the problems caused by them, i.e., allowing the underground parking to begin with.
    Common sense is the least common sense.

  6. Keep allowing these huge concrete buildings to be built without proper drainage and underground parking. What do you expecy?. Why are these buildings approved with underground parking and little to no drainage. Where is our city construction people who oversee this? We need to blame everyone involved in this situation.

  7. Mr Fernandez, while I often value your constructive comments for a better Coral Gables, your recent article on the eternal problems of flooding the garage areas of the buildings on Biltmore way and Coral Way, let me tell you: it is pretty stupid on your part! The mentioned buildings are always troubled by flooding at high levels, and for you to say it is “illegal” to flush the water out onto the city sewers is pretty dumb! What do you expect these buildings do with their flooded parking areas? First of all, a greatly deal of the water that flood the Golf course is siphon through underground and up the surface of the garage floors. So, not only these buildings have to deal with their own flooding but in addition they take on the waters from the Golf Course, rather than criticizing the “illegal “flushing” of the flood water, why don’t you give us a constructive alternative.

  8. It’s just amazing how people complain and complain about things we have NO CONTROL OVER! We went through a storm for God’s sake! We are so very fortunate it wasn’t bad for us, but we live (in Biltmore Way) under an aquifer and these buildings were built with underground parking garages. The water underneath these parking garages NEEDS TO BE PUMPED OUT! It’s as simple as that. It’s a SAFETY ISSUE!!

  9. Oh please.

    What did you expect to happen when building a city on a swamp?

    Besides, the city makes money with that by charging how much water goes on the drain.

  10. What’s up with Edgewater Drive -? You live at sea level- Duh! Before I bought my house I reviewed flood plain maps- you want to live in a flood zone ?
    Create a special tax district and pay for your own improvements or buy a boat.

  11. A win-win situation! Build the underground conduits to the City’s storm sewer system AND filter that water before it gets to the Waterway. Not sure this is feasible, though.

  12. The water accumulated in the underground garage is a safety issue and needs to be removed.

    The present system of utilizing pumps to drain the water to city streets is the only feasible way to resolve this. It’s obvious that Gables Insider is opposed to this practice, however, as far as I know, there is NO LAW that prohibits this. If there is a law that prohibits this practice, let’s see it.

    Leaving the water in the garage is a major safety issue. Residents have to park in the streets and taking parking spaces from residents that normally park in the areas. The City may decide to state this is a violation, but this is very questionable and challengeable. We sincerely hope the City Manager and city Major takes a look at this very serious issue.

  13. The storm water from these buildings ends up in the Gables Waterway[Riviera outfall]. So does all the street water by US 1, etc.
    No wonder our Bay’s water quality has declined and fish are declining!
    While sending stormwater to Waterways & then Biscayne Bay might have been OK in Merrick’s time, given current population today it needs to be processed before it is allowed to go into Waterways & Bay.
    Save Our Bay!

  14. I missed the part where you told us what these buildings are “supposed” to do to clear the water from their garages, other than pump it into the public storm sewers where that water would have gone if there were no underground garages.

  15. Why not require the buildings to have the pumps drain directly into existing storm drains through an underground conduit? Building developers and building boards/management should be responsible for the modification. Seems like simply bad planning and a fault in the building code that needs to be addressed.

  16. What’s up with Edgewater drive? Or as we refer to it Lake Edgewater. Within 30 minutes of rain the water is literally half way up our car doors.

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