Our positions at the Jan 12 2021 Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board

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MDPL’s Advocacy Committee has reviewed the following applications and offers our below positions. Please note, the lack of a position on a project does not indicate support or opposition to that project.

Editors Note: Items with blue highlighting were shared previously, while items with yellow highlight are new/updated positions.

Full HPB Board Agenda Link, including how the public may participate: click here

Request FOR CONTINUANCES / WITHDRAWALS

2. HPB20-0386, 7835 Harding Avenue

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MDPL Advocacy Position 6/20/20

The loss of this vernacular building is another step in erasing a segment of the City’s architectural evolution. Historic preservation as defined by City statute and the Secretary’s guidelines indicate that structures which are representative of an era or a style are essential to understanding the architectural development and history of Miami Beach.

3. HPB20-0420, 1030 6th Street

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MDPL Advocacy Position 11/6/20

We support the staff recommendation. The proposed structure is not compatible with the historic buildings on the site. At present, the north facade of the parking structure is more compatible with the historic buildings than the proposed hotel addition.  If the hotel addition was reduced in size and presented more of a concrete facade vs a glass facade, it would be much more compatible with the historic building. We are concerned about potential impacts of the hotel on the residential neighborhood. For example, the existing buildings don’t have balconies, and we are not sure if the balconies would be sympathetic to the existing combination of historic buildings, which do not have balconies.

Continued Items

4. HPB20-0437, 2660 Collins Avenue

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the installation of a generator at the northwest corner of the municipal surface parking lot.

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5. HPB20-0430, 3425 Collins Avenue (Versailles Hotel)

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MDPL Advocacy Position updated 1/12/21

MDPL’s primary concern is for the proper stewardship of the iconic Roy France Versailles Art Deco skyscraper, and its resuscitation from years of unfortunate decline in spite of a project already having full approval for its restoration. In addition, the iconic Art Deco skyline that has brought Miami Beach economic resiliency must be properly protected, including its scale and postcard-perfect context.

We understand the Aman Hotel’s high brand profile and their desire to add balconies to the eastern facade of the building. Although MDPL opposed adding such balconies, we recognize the Historic Preservation Board’s majority support for allowing balconies to be added. At the same time, we agree with the sentiment of HPB members that the prior proposed mostly-glass balconies did not comply with the Secretary of Interior standards for certificate of appropriateness.

Since the meeting, the architects and Aman team have listened to feedback and the latest version of the proposed renovation and restoration plan has improved in regard to the design language of the balconies proposed along the eastern facade. A reduction in glass is welcome, as is the increase in stucco/aluminum solid articulation, which feels more compatible with the original concrete design of the building.

Our reservations remain about the introduction of balconies to this building and we believe that the precedent of allowing such interventions should not be considered a rule, but rather an exception.

Other elements we support and are thankful for include retaining the existing corner angle of the north- and south- east facade. This is more authentic than the prior proposed introduction of a curved facade

It goes without saying that MDPL is thrilled at the possibility of the Versailles to have new life again in spite of too many years of delay and the looming threat of demolition by neglect. Any project approval should include a requirement that the restoration of the historic Versailles be substantially completed before the construction of the new tower.

As for the new tower, we look forward to seeing its updated design which will hopefully also incorporate the constructive feedback of the Historic Preservation Board as well as MDPL comments.

We also would like to ensure that the promises made regarding the restoration of the historic Jack Stewart Mural are written in the final order as a proffer and that the restoration be substantially completed at the same time as the restoration of the historic building.

6. HPB20-0378, 4360 & 4370 Collins Avenue

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MDPL Advocacy Position Nov 2020

We support the staff recommendations

NEW APPLICATIONS

7. HPB20-0379, 2901-2911 Indian Creek Drive

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the total demolition of two existing buildings, the renovation, restoration and relocation of one existing building, the construction of a detached residential addition and multiple variances from the required pedestal and tower setbacks and to exceed the maximum projection allowed in required yards.

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MDPL Advocacy Position 1/12/21

We thank the applicant for its proposal to elevate and retain the Schoeppl and Southwell contributing 1936 building. 

We are very pleased to see that the 1936 structure will be elevated, moved, and placed in a more prominent location on the site. Its elevation and retention – following the Buoyant Cities Resiliency Guidelines – to BFE+1 will ensure the long term resiliency of this historic structure. We praise the applicant for its efforts to follow the recently adopted Buoyant Cities guidelines, a project which MDPL was very much a part of. 

The undertaking to elevate and move the building will be a model for other buildings around our city and beyond. We ask that the applicant keep MDPL in the loop as the project is underway and suggest that it document the process so that it may be an inspiration for future projects around the city.

Restoration

MDPL would like to ensure that the final order includes specific language regarding the windows for the restored structure, in order to include historically compatible windows with raised profile mullions. Windows are an integral part of historic buildings and restoration with historically appropriate new windows will help ensure that the overall project meets the highest standards.

New Building

For the new building, we support the removal of the proposed faux balcony and faux first residential level at the entrance to the mechanical parking. We have reviewed the alternatives proposed which we find to be much more sympathetic to both the new building and its authenticity as well as allowing for more open air space in the garden between the old and new structure.

We’d like to ask the architect if he could spend time explaining how the new building relates to the existing building – how do the materials, the balcony design, the zigzagging, respond to the neighborhood.

Demolition of Contributing Structure

When the prior project was approved in 2015, MDPL supported the retention of the two existing contributing structures. We also supported a rooftop addition to the 1960s contributing structure in order to make its retention feasible. We lament that the current proposal seeks to demolish the 1960s structure. The hardship mentioned relates to the location of the entry stairs in relation to the sidewalk. 

MDPL remains committed to seeking preservation resiliency alternatives which would allow all contributing historic structures to be elevated. We hope that the HP Board, City, and Planning Department, will continue to develop solutions for all typologies – as the future resiliency of our city depends on it.

8. HPB20-0431, 880 71st Street

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the construction of a mixed use development project on a vacant lot and variances from the requirements to provide residential or commercial use to screen parking at the ground level, from the required rear setback, minimum average apartment size, open space requirements in rear yard, and maximum allowable projection in required yards.

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MDPL Advocacy Position 1/12/21

We support the Staff Recommendations. We would like to request that the final order for approval include a requirement that a plaque be placed on a publicly accessible wall denoting the Tropicaire, the MiMo building that was left to neglect and demolished just before the historic designation of the neighborhood. Such plaque should include a brief history and historically accurate image of the original building

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