Miami Condo Owners Brave the Cold—Inside

In Miami, fancy high rises with bay views come with all the amenities – Jacuzzi tubs, sleek European appliances, gyms, and movie theaters. But there's one basic amenity that many don't have: heat.

The city is known for its steamy lifestyle–sex, crime, and body baring outfits are the norm. Heck, even it's basketball team is called the Heat. But when the temperature dipped into the 30s last week, people in their luxury condos felt a distinct chill, even indoors.
"When it was 30 outside, it was 40 inside," said Asha Loring, 25, whose apartment building along Biscayne Bay comes with pricey hurricane impact windows to protect her from mother nature's fury. When those windows couldn't keep out the cold, Loring resorted to wearing everything she owned. "I wore layers. I pulled out my winter clothes. Luckily, I still fit in them," she said. "I ran out of clothes."

Hardware stores sold out of space heaters, and residents ran out of patience.

The problem is that most buildings are equipped with cooling towers designed to keep units chilled in the hot weather, says a building maintenance director named Julio, who preferred not to use his last name for fear of the condo board's wrath. The water is already cool when it enters the system and is further cooled so apartments stay at crisp as a frosted mojito.

However, if the water entering the system is too cold (under 60 degrees) the system doesn't have the capacity to warm it enough to keep 100 units–or even a single one– warm. A boiler would solve the problem but most buildings don't have them.

"It's about a $1 million for a boiler that you use once a year," said Julio, who works at a luxury condo on Brickell Avenue.

Most people would rather buy a Snuggie than give their condo board more money.
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