Summary: September 8th 2020 Historic Preservation Board

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The City of Miami Beach’s Historic Preservation Board met virtually today to review a lengthy agenda. Below are results of the items that were heard at the meeting, shaded in pink. Following the outcome is a copy of MDPL’s position on the project. To view all of MDPL’s positions from this agenda, click here.

Full Historic Preservation Board Meeting Agenda Link: click here

6. HPB19-0341, 1751, 1757 & 1775 Collins Avenue

(Raleigh Master Plan)

Result on 9-8-20: The Historic Preservation Board voted 5-1 to approve the new proposal, but required a reduction in the maximum height of the tower. The maximum new height is 175′ tall, a 25′ reduction from the proposed height of 200′. A new condition was included to help ensure the Raleigh remains a hotel and is not converted to a private club or residence. In addition, a condition was added that will help ensure the restoration is substantially complete before the new building is opened.

Shown below is an elevation diagram of the proposed tower at 200′. At the hearing, the board asked the applicant to reduce the height to a maximum of 175′.

MDPL Advocacy Position 7/10/20 (updated 8/7/20 see underline; Updated 9/4/20 see highlighted)

  • MDPL is appreciative of the applicants time and willingness to listen to our feedback regarding various aspects of the historic restoration of the three existing contributing buildings on the site. This has included several meetings and site visits. We believe this has led to improvements in the proposal such as the retention of lobby floorplates in the Richmond and South Seas, better window mullion designs for the Raleigh which will be more historically compatible, and updated design for the side of the Richmond which is more in keeping with the contributing structure integrity. We thank the applicant and believe the project has improved based on these meetings. In addition the ownership is willing to have a proffer regarding keeping the Raleigh as a hotel and only changing it with approval of the HPB. We strongly encourage this condition to be included in the HPB order to ensure the ongoing status of the Raleigh as a hotel for use and enjoyment of guests (and not conversion to a condominium)
  • Our primary concern for this project remains the restoration of the three original L. Murray Dixon structures. The City should establish a clear timeline for the restoration of the Dixon buildings. The timeline should include specific benchmarks and ensure that the restoration proceeds as sensitively as possible. This will hopefully avoid delays and bring these shining examples of Art Deco back to being an important and vibrant part of the district. This should be in the final order. (8/7/20)
  • We continue to have concerns about the demolition of the 1950s additions behind the Richmond and South Seas and the height of the proposed new tower. The new configuration of the tower proposed by the developer is an improvement over the original plan (ziggurat step-back) (8/7/20)
  • Additional MDPL Position Updated 9-4-20: We respect the concerns that have been expressed about the size of the tower. The new additional setbacks are helpful in achieving compatibility. But concerns remain about the overall size (FAR) of the tower height and mass, the latter of which is made larger by the fact that the existing historic building additions to the South Seas and Richmond are proposed to be demolished and the newly available FAR is being placed in the new tower. The new tower got wider while also being set back, so the overall size is the same. (9-4-20)

7. HPB20-0380, 550 Washington Avenue (Paris Theater)

Result: The Historic Preservation Board approved the project with conditions on 9-8-2020

MDPL’s Advocacy Position 8/10/20

MDPL supports the staff recommendation for this application. MDPL opposes the proposed replacement doors at the Washington Avenue entrance. MDPL recommends doors of clear glass and of a size that maintain the scale of the block. MDPL is concerned about the designation of a VIP entrance at the rear of the structure and strongly recommends that this door be restricted to emergency egress and alarmed.

9. HPB20-0388, 1116 Ocean Drive (Versace Mansion / Casa Casuarina)

Result: The Historic Preservation Board approved the canopy structure 4-2 for a period of 2 years only.

Advocacy Committee Position 8/10/20

MDPL opposes the installation, voices concern about the “after the fact” application, and notes that the courtyard was part of the public area.

Advocacy Committee Position updated September 4th 2020

MDPL had previously opposed the installation based on the information provided. In particular, the after the fact certificate of appropriateness is disappointing. Members of our Advocacy Committee visited the site and met with the owners to understand the project. Based on a site visit, we believe that the canopy structure is appropriate because it is meant to be relatively temporary, is not visible from the street in a significant way, and is an improvement over past proposals that were larger and had significant attachments to the historic building which could have affected its integrity. We do suggest that the applicant work with staff on a consistent treatment for the canopy columns and on a way to appropriately cover the electrical wiring that is exposed on some of the columns.

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