Our Positions at the September 13th 2021 Historic Preservation Board

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MDPL’s Advocacy Committee has reviewed the following applications and offers our positions below, highlighted in yellow. [Please note, the lack of a position on a project does not indicate support for or opposition to that project.To review the complete Historic Preservation Board Agenda, including public participation information, visit the City of Miami Beach website: Click Here]

HISTORIC DESIGNATIONS

HPB20-0446, 7275 Collins Avenue (aka North Beach Bandshell)

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A presentation by the City of Miami Beach Planning Department to the Historic Preservation Board relative to the proposed historic designation of 7275 Collins Avenue (North Beach Bandshell) as an individual local historic site.

MDPL Position: We support the City Staff Recommendations for the proposed historic designation of the North Beach Bandshell at 7275 Collins Avenue as an individual local historic site.

MODIFICATIONS TO PREVIOUSLY APPROVED BOARD ORDER

HPB19-0363 a.k.a. HPB17-0150, 7409-7449 Collins Ave. & 7400-7450 Ocean Terrace

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An application has been filed requesting modifications to a previously issued Certificate of Appropriateness that authorized the substantial demolition and partial restoration of eight existing structures, the total demolition of two existing structures, the partial demolition, renovation and partial restoration of two existing structures and the construction of a new ground level tower addition including one or more waivers and variances to reduce the required pedestal and tower front and street side setbacks and to exceed the maximum allowable projection into required yards. Specifically, the applicant is requesting approval for modifications to the previously approved residential tower design, site plan design, the construction of a new addition and one or more waivers.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis:

Modifications to the previously approved residential tower

As part of the 2018 Certificate of Appropriateness application, the Board approved a 16-story, 235’-0” tall multi-family residential building located at the southeast corner of the development site. The applicant is proposing to introduce 4 additional residential levels, resulting in a total of 20 stories within the previously approved height of 235’-0”. Additionally, along the west façade, a new residential unit is proposed to be introduced on levels 7 through 19. Staff has no objection to the modifications proposed as they are consistent with the originally approved architecture of the multi-family residential building and will not have any adverse impact on the surrounding historic district.

Introduction of new hotel tower and drop-off

A new 7-story hotel tower is proposed to be constructed at the northwest corner of the development site, above the previously approved commercial and parking podium. The hotel tower is proposed to be accessed via a ground level lobby located at the northeast corner of the podium, adjacent to the previously approved hotel access driveway. Staff is supportive of the overall contemporary design language of the proposed structure which has been developed in a manner that appropriately responds to the unique architectural character of the historic district. In this regard, the asymmetrical massing and flared corner balconies of the new hotel tower create a subtle reference to the design of the historic Broadmoor Hotel.

Floor plate area

According to the regulations outlined in the Ocean Terrace Overlay District (Section 142- 870.1(d)), the maximum floor plate size for the tower portion of a building is 10,000 sq. ft., including balconies. The Historic Preservation Board may allow for an increase in the overall floor plate, up to a maximum of 15,000 sq. ft., including balconies, per floor, in accordance with the Certificate of Appropriateness criteria.

The previously approved project included a waiver for the multi-family residential tower floor plate size of 12,407 sq. ft. With the introduction of an additional unit per residential floor, the currently proposed floor plate size is 13,979 sq. ft. Additionally, the proposed floor plate size 10,164 sq. ft., for the new hotel tower is just slightly above the 10,000 sq. ft. regulation.

In summary, staff remains supportive of the proposed redevelopment project and is enthusiastic about the return of this important property to active use, and recommends approval as noted below.

MDPL Position: We support the staff recommendations


HPB20-0440 a.k.a. HPB20-0380, 550 Washington Avenue Avenue
CONTINUED ITEMS

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An application has been filed requesting modifications to a previously issued Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition and renovation of the existing building including the construction of attached additions and modifications to original public interior spaces and a variance to exceed the maximum permitted building height. Specifically, the applicant is requesting to modify a condition of the final order to allow for the introduction of new signage on the vertical feature along Washington Avenue, a Certificate of Appropriateness for modifications to the marquee and a variance to exceed the maximum permitted size for signage.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis: As part of the proposed project, the existing “PARIS” signage located on the projecting vertical fin element along Washington Avenue was proposed to be restored. Additionally, the board imposed the following condition requiring that the Eiffel Tower icon be introduced:

I.C.1.a. The historic Paris signage located on the projecting vertical feature along Washington Avenue shall be restored inclusive of the Eiffel tower icon, in a manner to be reviewed and approved by staff consistent with the Certificate of Appropriateness Criteria and/or directions of the Board.

Vertical projecting fin signage

The applicant is currently requesting to eliminate this condition in order to introduce new signage with the name of the restaurant, “QUEEN”, replacing the existing “PARIS” signage. Two options have been presented to the Board for consideration, one with a Queen of Hearts scepter logo and the other without any logo.

Staff has no objection to the elimination of the condition and the signage replacement, as the proposed signs have been designed in a manner that is consistent with the original open-faced exposed neon signage of the theater. Additionally, as is often the case, the signage for this building has changed over time. The existing “PARIS” signage which replaced the original “VARIETY” theater signage was introduced in 1961. While staff believes that both options are suitable, staff finds that Option 2 with the logo better captures the spirit of the early Post War Modern theater architecture.

Marquee signage

The applicant is also requesting approval for the replacement of the existing internally illuminated marquee signage boards with new edge lit aluminum panels. Staff is not supportive of the removal of this character defining feature of the historic theater building and strongly recommends that the existing marquee be restored in its entirety, including the signage boards. The retention of the marquee features will not preclude the applicant from introducing new signage consistent with the signage currently proposed.

MDPL Position: We appreciate the applicants meeting with us to review the project. However, we continue to oppose the replacement of the historic PARIS sign with a new, larger QUEEN sign. We do not believe this is consistent with the original design of the building. We also request that the patron entry on the west side facing Flamingo Park residential neighborhood be prohibited. The Paris sign may not be original, but it has been in place for decades – far longer than the original sign – and demonstrates an element of our historic continuum worthy of preservation

HPB20-0445, 306 Lincoln Road

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An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the installation of illuminated signage facing Lincoln Road in accordance with the Lincoln Road Signage District regulations.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis: On May 11, 2021, the Board reviewed and continued the subject application in order to give the applicant additional time to address concerns expressed by the Board. Since the May meeting, the applicant has submitted a revised signage design that is more consistent with the spirit of this district including larger icons similar to the existing signage, additional band lighting and animated heart logos. In summary, staff believes that the currently proposed design more successfully responds to the intent of the Lincoln Road Signage District and recommends approval as noted below.

MDPL Updated Position 9-13-21: We appreciate the evolution of the design since the HPB continued the item and asked for refinement. The new design is improved, but we think the elements should be more retro-inspired and speak more to the historical period. We believe as currently proposed, the new design it sticks out and is not compatible with the surroundings

HPB21-0454, 900 Ocean Drive, Mango’s Tropical

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An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for modifications to the east façade of the building.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis: The applicant is currently requesting approval for the construction of a new double-height storefront window system along the Ocean Drive (east) façade in place of the existing metal gate structure and plastic rain screen. As noted in the applicant’s Letter of Intent, the new glass wall and proposed double door vestibule will allow for sound to be better retained within the site. Staff has no significant concerns relative to this proposal and believes that the straight-forward design, consistent existing storefronts to the north and south of the courtyard, is compatible with the Post War Modern style architecture.

While generally supportive of the application, staff would note that the nearly continuous retractable awnings attached to the east side of building have a significant adverse impact on the architectural integrity of this Contributing structure. These awnings obscure almost all views to the lower façade and the introduction of the new storefront system behind the center awning, will create an even more awkward relationship with the existing architecture. As such, staff recommends that the approval of the new glass wall be conditioned upon the removal of the existing retractable awnings attached to the east façade of the building. If permanent shading devices are desired by the applicant, staff recommends that traditional fixed awnings be installed over the existing door and window openings, similar to the awnings installed on the south side of the building. Staff would note that in 2017 the Board approved the existing freestanding retractable umbrella system within the public sidewalk area, as shown in the photograph below. Overtime, this structure has impeded the openness of the public sidewalk and created an imbalance between the public and private realms. Given the current City initiatives to reimagine Ocean Drive, the Board should consider and discuss the impact this structure has had on the existing building, as well as the historic character of Ocean Drive including the pedestrian experience.

MDPL Position: We strongly support the Staff Position including removal of the canopies. In addition, we have concerns about the proposed fenestration of the upper windows, which appear to be overly large and inconsistent with the architecture of the rest of the historic building. Suggestions to explore: making the windows smaller and/or introduce glass block… We believe additional study and refinement is needed.

NEW APPLICATIONS

HPB19-0361, Ocean Terrace between 73rd Street and 75th Street including portions of 73rd, 74th and 75th Streets, Ocean Terrace Park.

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An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the design of a new park and streetscape improvements, including variances from the requirements of the Oceanfront and Dune Preservation Overlay districts.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the report):

Staff Analysis: The plan, which features abundant native landscaping, has been designed to appropriately transition from the casual dune habitat along the ocean to the more formal urban city grid. Staff is highly supportive of the overall proposal and believes this new oceanfront park will greatly improve the quality of life for the immediate neighbors and surrounding North Beach community.

Notwithstanding the above, staff has one concern relative to the proposed outdoor café design. Sheets LH.102 and LH.407 of the plans submitted by the applicant indicate the introduction of an outdoor bar structure including bar counter, shelving and storage. As noted in the Background section of this report, on July 31, 2019, the City entered into a Development Agreement with the developer. Section 26.4 of this agreement allows the developer to construct and operate a café within the park should the design of such café be approved by the Historic Preservation Board, provided the café is generally consistent with the sidewalk café permit requirements as set forth in Chapter 82 of the City Code. Since outdoor bar counters are not consistent with allowable sidewalk café furnishings, it has been determined that City Commission authorization is required for any type of bar structure and related apparatus, prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness for this element of the café design.

Since the inclusion of an outdoor bar has not been authorized, staff is unable to provide a recommendation for the outdoor bar counter at this time. Additionally, since this apparatus was included in the submitted plans, To address this, staff has included a condition in the attached draft order requiring a separate application for Certificate of Appropriateness for an outdoor bar in the future, should the applicant obtain the required City authorization.

Finally, staff would note that in addition to the Planning Department, this project has been reviewed by other applicable City departments including Capital Improvement Projects, Fire, Transportation, Environment & Sustainability and Public Works. The respective comments of each of these departments have been addressed in the recommendations contained within the attached draft order.

MDPL Position: We appreciate the team meeting with us to review the project. We have ongoing concerns about the lack of accessibility to the proposed park. For example, the new design appears to make it harder for residents to drop off for the beach. We remain concerned about lack of access to Ocean Terrace under this proposal. In addition, we are concerned about the cafe area which is completely new, and appears to be additional private encroachment onto the public street.

HPB21-0470, 803 2nd Street

[Proposed New Building]

[Existing building proposed to be demolished (photo from 2008)]

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An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the total demolition of an existing building and the construction of a new single-family home, including variances from the minimum required lot width and lot area.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation:

Staff Analysis: Staff has visited the subject site and has observed the physical condition of the building is consistent with the findings of the applicant’s structural engineer. As such, staff does not have an objection to the applicant’s proposal to replace the existing structure. If it was possible to retain, restore and preserve substantial, significant portions cof the original building, while reconstructing limited portions that required demolition due to severe structural deterioration, staff would be supportive of reconstructing those portions of the building. However, based upon the detailed report from the applicant’s structural engineer, it appears that total demolition will be required, leaving no original materials, features or finishes.

Although a possible course of action could be the replication of the building, staff would not recommend this as an option for several reasons. First, an accurate reconstruction of the building would not be possible, as the finish floor elevation would be required to be raised approximately 3.6’ significantly compromising the building’s relationship to the sidewalk.

Second, Miami Beach has a rich history of evolving architectural styles and staff believes that the replacement of a structure that has exhausted its ability to function as a useful and habitable building should be with a structure of its time, while fully respecting the established scale, context and setting in which it is located. In general, the replication of structures is not encouraged; the reconstruction of demolished structures should only be considered when there are very extenuating circumstances. The current structural condition of the building appears to indicate that it has reached the end of its life cycle. Staff believes it would be most appropriate to replace the structure with a new building reflecting its time and place in Miami Beach, just as Mediterranean Revival transitioned into Art Deco and Art Deco transitioned into Mid-Century Modern or MiMo, as buildings aged and needed to be replaced. Particularly within historic districts, it is important to further the design continuum that has been the regulatory practice of the Board and the policy recommended by staff since local historic districts have been designated.

MDPL Position: The existing structure is a contributing building located in a historic district. As such, it is required to be properly maintained.

From the Preservation Code, the duty of the HPB includes:

​​(5) The protection of all existing buildings and structures in the city’s designated historic districts or on designated historic sites from unlawful demolition, demolition by neglect and the failure of property owners to maintain and preserve the structures.

This application appears to be a case of demolition by neglect. If the current owner bought the property as-is, the regulations enforced that owners must maintain all buildings. Owners need to be on notice that neglect of buildings is not an excuse for demolition. We oppose the demolition of these contributing buildings. We also do not agree with the position that the existing structure cannot be rebuilt because it will be higher than before. This is not a good way to look at climate change resiliency.

In addition, recent updates to the Demolition by Neglect ordinance prioritize the replication of structures that may need to be demolished.

HPB21-0471, 1158 Marseille Drive

[Proposed New Building]

[Existing Building proposed to be demolished: built 1954, includes 4 units]

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An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the total demolition of an existing building and the construction of a new multi-family residential structure, including variances from the requirement to provide residential or commercial use to screen parking at the ground level and from the required drive aisle width for perpendicular parking spaces.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full staff report):

Staff Analysis: The existing 1-story structure on the site was constructed in 1954 and designed by Gilbert Fein in the Post War Modern style. This building is nearly identical to the two adjacent buildings to the west, also designed by Gilbert Fein and constructed in 1954. Although no original plans have been located for this building, examination of aerial photographs and building permit records indicate the structure has had only limited modifications since its construction. In evaluating the applicant’s request for total demolition, staff has taken the following information into account.

Additionally, a structural condition assessment report, prepared by Douglas Wood, P.E., entitled “General Assessment Report for the Existing Structural Systems at Existing Residential Apartment Building, 1158 Marseille Drive Miami Beach, Florida” has been submitted and includes a narrative and photographic evidence outlining the building’s current structural condition. The report identifies “extensive deterioration and deficiencies” and finds that “repairs, replacements and enhancements for this building will be extensive and expensive.” The report also notes that elevating the building 3.57’ will be prohibitively expensive.

Staff would note that there is a significant need for additional affordable housing units within the City and agrees with the engineering report that the retention and adaptation of the existing building along with the construction of additional units on the site does not appear to be feasible. Staff is therefore, not opposed to the requested demolition.

The new building for affordable elderly housing consists of a multi-level entry porch and 5 parking spaces at the ground level, 8 residential units on levels 2 and 3, and 4 residential units and a community room at the fourth level. The project architect has done an outstanding job of incorporating stringent requirements of the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development for this elderly affordable housing project. The highly developed design result in an exuberant architectural statement that successfully relates to and complements the predominately Post-War Modern architecture of the Normandy Isles Local Historic District. Further, the distribution of architectural forms has resulted in a new building that is compatible with the neighboring buildings and the surrounding historic district. Specifically, the fourth level has been setback an additional approximately 25’-0” from the primary façade successfully reducing its scale and allowing for a desirable communal rooftop terrace.

MDPL Position: We are opposed to the demolition of the 1954 contributing structure within the Normandy Isles local historic district. Although there is a public benefit to affordable elderly housing, we would prefer to see alternative proposals that can reincorporate the existing building.

HPB21-0474, 1051 Jefferson Avenue (Fire Station #1)

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An application has been filed requesting to change the classification of the existing building from Non-Contributing to Contributing in the City’s Historic Properties Database.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full staff report):

Staff Analysis: In light of the fact the building is generally consistent with the characteristics of architecture constructed in the highly significant post WWII period and is within the scale and context of the district, staff believes that the subject structure adds to the district’s sense of time and place and historical development. As such, staff is recommending that the Board modify the classification of the 1967 Fire Station No. 1 building, located at 1051 Jefferson Avenue, from Non- Contributing to Contributing.

MDPL Position: We have previously shared our support of the reclassification of this building from non-contributing to contributing. Click here to read our support letter. We support the staff recommendation to reclassify this building.

HPB21-0475, 833 6th Street (South Shore Community Center)

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An application has been filed requesting to change the classification of the existing building from Non-Contributing to Contributing in the City’s Historic Properties Database.

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full staff report):

While acknowledging that the South Shore Community Center was a thoughtfully designed building for the time, staff does not believe that the existing structure, inclusive of the alterations to the exterior, adds to the sense of time and place significant in the development of the Flamingo Park Historic District. Additionally, significant and distinct features of the Brutalist design of this building, including the exposed concrete and related finishes, have been compromised and may be beyond repair and restoration. The alterations that have occurred overtime including the introduction of security apparatus and the enclosure of open-air areas as well as the extremely low finish floor elevation indicate that the subject structure cannot be effectively adapted to function as a secure municipal facility without severely compromising the original design.

Consequently, staff finds that the South Shore Community Center Building does not contribute to the special character of the Flamingo Park Historic District and recommends the current classification of Non-Contributing remain.

MDPL Position: We have previously shared our support of the reclassification of this building from non-contributing to contributing. Click here to read our support letter. We disagree with the Miami Beach staff recommendation in this case.

DISCUSSION ITEMS

93 Palm Island Ave. (House of Al Capone)

93 Palm Island Avenue – possible historic designation (requested by Chair)

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City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation:: N/A

City of Miami Beach Staff Analysis: N/A

MDPL Position: We remain committed to the survey, identification, and protection of historic resources throughout Miami Beach. Single-family homes are an essential part of the built history and story of Miami Beach. This home in particular meets multiple criteria for historic designation. Demolition of this property would be a substantial loss to the social, cultural, and environmental heritage of our community. We formally request that the HPB board designate the home historic.

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