Engineer Profile: UCI Engineering

What is UCI Engineering? Well, if you know, that’s surprising. Few know what UCI Engineering is and why it’s worthy of their attention. UCI is one of a few vital engineering firms that plans and allows for the buildings that we love to go vertical. Developers deal and spend. Architects think and draw. Engineers plan and charge. The problem is nobody wants to talk about the engineers. It’s boring. After all, so long as the building gets topped off who cares that an engineer’s plans made it a reality? The reality is: no engineer, no building. Now I’m not trying to sell this notion. It is what it is. But, I want to focus on UCI’s role in the mix. Their role is not just vital in the new condo market but in the old too. I mean so old that these condminiums are in danger of being condemned, or have been already. I know that there are those of you who think that they should be but that is downright wrong, malicious, and contrary to the city’s interests. Some of these structures have historic value, such as the 40+ year old Casablanca (next to the Akoya on 63rd), which UCI represents. The engineering firm, along with the community’s Board of Directors and PMSC is working to preserve the building and keep it functioning. Their effort helps continue to provide a nice place for middle class folks to take a break during the weekend, elderly retirees a place to live on the ocean, and tourists a reasonably priced spot to vacation. Although the Casablanca is open and thriving, buildings such as the Castle Beach Club haven’t been that fortunate. It was shut down by the City of Miami Beach. Its residents were forced to leave without time to properly move out, and the entire community left responsible for a 20 million dollar bill to fix the problem. What was the problem? Well, by law, upon 40 years of a building’s life (on Miami Beach), the property is required to attain a 40-year recertification. If this structural, mechanical, and electrical inspection is not passed, then the building may be condemned. In the case of Castle Beach Club, guess who they hired to clean up the mess? Well UCI Engineering’s Reymundo Miranda of course. His firm along with careful collaboration with the Board of Directors managed to plan and help initiate the reopening of the community (or at least the first 8 floors of it for the time being). In preserving these buildings, UCI helps keep historical structures functioning and providing, in some cases, affordable housing in what would otherwise be unaffordable neighborhoods. Fittingly, UCI is helping plan the construction of some our city’s newest and most exciting residential projects. Pedro Martin’s Terra Group has contracted his firm’s efforts for 900 Biscayne. The firm is behind Axis at Brickell. Their plans extend to Star Lofts on the Bay and Blue Bay Tower in North Bay Village. Preserving the architectural past and planning for the future of our skyline are the two signature marks of this under recognized yet important engineering firm.



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