Our positions at the Feb 9th 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 public participation information: 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.

Continued Items

4. 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.

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

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MDPL Advocacy Position updated 2/9/21

MDPL is thankful for the feedback incorporated into this version of the new tower’s design, including the lowering of the overall height, expanded views toward the front of the historic Versailles, providing additional renderings of the building’s location on the site and of the proposed lobby space in the new tower, and responding to other feedback from the HPB and Staff.

In addition, we appreciate the commitment made to restore, renovate, and reinstall, all at no cost to the City of Miami Beach, the Jack Stewart Apollo Mural, among other public benefits proffered. We expect this condition to be clear within the final order in order to ensure follow-through.

In general, we believe the view from the beach side of our historic Art Deco buildings and sites are as important as the view from the street side. Our position on this has been consistent for many years. With the newly connected boardwalk being celebrated as an attraction for Miami Beach, the east facing views of these buildings and sites becomes even more visible and important. Concerns from some committee members remain about the northeast portion of the new building and its closeness to the historic Versailles siting.

With the above feedback and commentary, we conclude that the current proposal is an improvement and reflects a positive movement based on the applicant working with the community and working together with the MDPL.

for reference, MDPL Advocacy Position (prior position from 1/12/21, focused on the historic Versailles tower)

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. HPB20-0431, 880 71st Street

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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.

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

7. 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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