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The Neron Hotel

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The Neron Hotel previously located at 1110 Drexel Avenue, was a fine example of the Art Deco/Streamline Moderne architecture built by architect Henry Hohauser in 1940. The building exhibited many of the trademarks of Art Deco, including basic symmetry from the front elevation view; a ziggurat or stepped roofline; the incorporation of simple, industrially-produced glass bricks as decorative elements; curved edges; eyebrow-like sculpted features; port holes and neon lighting. 

In 1982, the Miami Beach Commission was studying the old City Hall on Washington Avenue and the apartment buildings behind it for a possible site for a new police station. The old station was located at 101 Meridian Avenue and the Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency announced plans in 1976 to demolish it. Voters approved an $18 million bond issue in 1981 to finance a new police station. A City consultant chose the 16th hole of the Bayshore Golf Course as the best site, but was rejected after protests from golfers. In 1983 it was decided that the new station would be built at the site of the Neron Hotel. Barbara Baer Capitman and designer Leonard Horowitz attempted to convince city officials and the architects to consider saving it. They agreed to study the facade to see if it could be incorporated into the new building, as it wouldn’t cost anything extra. However, once the design was approved for the new construction, the commission reversed its earlier decision to preserve the Art Deco facade of the Neron Hotel as part of the project. The City spent $14,000 preserving its facade during the demolition work, only to tear it down the following month. Architect Borrelli, who was for preserving the facade, said at the time it would realistically be too costly to incorporate the Neron into the new police station. The building was sadly demolished on November 13, 1983. During that time there was a lawsuit pending challenging the validity of Miami Beach’s weak preservation laws. Dade County was seeking to supersede Miami Beach’s preservation law with its own stronger law.

Vintage postcard of The Neron Hotel
1980’s photograph of the Neron Hotel courtesy of Nancy Liebman
From the Florida Architect Magazine 1977
Vintage postcard of the Neron Hotel at 1110 Drexel Avenue

What would Miami Beach be like without Historic Art Deco, Mediterranean, and MiMo buildings?

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