Our Positions at the December 13th, 2022 Historic Preservation Board

MDPL’s Advocacy Committee has reviewed the following applications and offers our positions below. Please note, the lack of a position on a project does not indicate support for or opposition to that project. To review the Historic Preservation Board Agenda, including public participation information:

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  1. 1030 6th Street
  2. 803 2nd Street
  3. 407 Lincoln Road
  4. 1745 James Avenue
  5. 1901 Collins Avenue

CONTINUED ITEMS

HPB22-0536 a.k.a. HPB20-0420, 1030 6th Street

Current Site

Proposed Structure

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting modifications to a previously issued Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition, renovation and restoration of all buildings on the site and the construction of an attached addition as part of a new hotel development, including one or more waivers and variances to reduce the required setbacks, reduce the required open space and reduce the minimum hotel unit size. Specifically, the applicant is requesting design modifications to the previously approved project and modifications to the previously approved variances for the required open space and minimum hotel unit size requirements.

CITY STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Approval of modifications to the previously issued Certificate of Appropriateness with conditions. Approval of modifications to the previously issued variance with conditions.

more details->1030 6 Street

STAFF ANALYSIS

The subject collection of buildings, originally known as the Lenox Villas, was constructed in 1938 and designed by Henry Hohauser in the Mediterranean Revival/Art Deco Transition style of architecture. The site contains three identical buildings arranged around a central courtyard fronting onto 6th Street.

The applicant is currently proposing the construction of an attached 7-story addition at the rear of the site. The proposed project consists of 76 hotel units, a rooftop pool deck and dining area with 64 seats, 9 parking spaces, and a restaurant with 46 seats within the courtyard. In order to construct the new addition, the applicant is proposing to totally demolish the center building and rebuild a portion of the front of the structure in a location slightly shifted to the north.

On October 18, 2022, the Board reviewed and continued the application in order to give the applicant additional time to address concerns of the Board. Since the October meeting, the applicant has submitted revised plans that include the following modifications:

  • A greater portion of the front façade of the center building is proposed to be reconstructed. Additionally, the existing decorative metal screens are proposed to be salvaged and reintroduced within the reconstructed façade. Further, the applicant is proposing to salvage additional exterior architectural features to be reintroduced within the new hotel lobby.
  • Additional articulation has been introduced within the design of the primary façade of the addition.
  • A retail/gym space has been introduced along the west side of the ground floor effectively screening the parking area beyond. Staff is supportive of the proposed modifications which will result in a design that achieves a greater level of compatibility with the contributing buildings on the site and the surrounding historic districts. VARIANCE ANALYSIS The applicant is requesting modifications to the following variance:

1. A variance from the minimum required hotel unit size: 15% of the hotel units shall be between 300-335 sq. ft. and 85% of units shall be larger than 335 sq. ft., in order to permit 41 62 hotel units (63 81.58%) between 300 and 335 sq. ft., and 24 14 hotel units exceeding 335 sq. ft. (37 18.42% of units). Variance requested from:

Sec. 142-698. Commercial performance standard area requirements.

(a) The commercial performance standard area requirements are as follows:
Minimum floor area per hotel unit (square feet):15%: 300-335 square feet, 85%: 335+ square feet in all districts.

The code permits 15% of hotel units to have a size between 300-335 sq. ft, with the remainder (85%) over 335 sq. ft. As part of the previously approved project, the Board granted a variance to allow 63% of hotel units to have a size between 300-335 sq. ft. The currently proposed project includes a total of 76 hotel units, an increase of 11 units from the previously approved project. The applicant is proposing to modify the previously granted variance to reflect the currently proposed number of hotel units and increase the percentage of units with a size between 300- 335 sq. ft. from 63% to 81.58%.

In order to accommodate the revised number of units, a variance request for the minimum hotel unit size has been proposed by the applicant. Based on the limited area available for the new construction due to the retention of two Contributing buildings and the courtyard plan, as well as the Board’s previously approval of a variance to reduce the hotel unit size, staff is supportive of the modified variance request insofar as to comport with the number of currently proposed units; however, staff is not supportive of an increase in the percentage of units that have a size between 300-335 sq. ft.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness and variance be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position [from Nov 8, 2022]:

MDPL is disappointed to see minimal changes in the latest version of this design as far as the height and massing of the proposal. Therefore, we retain our existing position below:

MDPL Position [from October 18, 2022]:

MDPL appreciates the applicant’s team spending time with our advocacy committee to discuss this project. We believe that the property is in need of rejuvenation as an important Henry Hohauser-designed complex at the perimeter of the historic district. The renovation and restoration of the two Hohauser front properties along 6th street will improve the surroundings greatly.

As far as the new addition, we agree with the Staff Report that it is out of context with the surrounding neighborhood as currently designed. This is in line with our prior position and that of the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association at the time the prior project was reviewed. In that case, the owner reduced the height of the new addition by one level and it also had a more sympathetic treatment for the facade of the rear Hohauser building.

There are items that we like about the new design, but we also believe that what faces 6th street should be consistent with the Flamingo Park Neighborhood. It also appears that there is more hardscape/concrete in this new version.

With the recommended continuance, we believe that further refinement can be made to ensure a more compatible project for this important entryway to the district.

HPB22-0521, 803 2nd Street

Current Site

Proposed Structure

View Item Details

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 setbacks, lot width and lot area.

CITY STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness with conditions.

Approval of the variances with conditions.

more details->803 2 Street

STAFF ANALYSIS

The applicant is proposing to construct a new single-family residential structure on the site. In order to construct the new building, the applicant is proposing the total demolition of the existing 1-story Contributing building.

Request for total demolition of the existing 1-story building

The existing building was originally constructed in 1923 on the northwest corner of 2nd Street and Meridian Avenue. Although no original plans have been located, examination of early aerial photographs and building permit records indicates the structure has had only limited modifications since its construction.

The applicant has submitted a report prepared by Douglas Wood, P.E., entitled “General Assessment Report for the Existing Structural Systems at 803 2nd Street Miami Beach, Florida” dated April 5, 2021 outlining the building’s current structural condition. In summary, this report concludes the following:

‘It will not be possible to correct the existing damages, deterioration, and deficiencies; meet the current Building Code strength requirements; and provide reasonably appropriate safety and performance without dismantling the entire building and reconstructing it. Extensive reconstruction will likely result in the loss of the building’s status as “contributing” to the historical district. In that case, it will be necessary to meet current flood design criteria, including setting the floor elevation at +9.0 ft. N.G.V.D.’

A second report, prepared by Youssef Hachem Consulting Engineering, dated June 24, 2022 has been submitted regarding the structural condition of the existing building. The report concludes:

‘Based on the site observations of the conditions of structural members of the buildings and the alterations required by the Florida Building Code, it is clear that this building cannot be saved by repairs because the wood which is the main component of the structure has passed its useful life expectancy and use and cannot be treated or repaired. It is our recommendation that the building be demolished.’

Staff has visited the subject site and has observed the physical condition of the building is consistent with the findings of both structural engineers. 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 of 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 reports from the structural engineers, 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 buildings 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.

New single-family residence

Staff is highly supportive of the massing and contemporary design language of the new home, which incorporates very successful variations in surface finishes and changes in plane along the primary elevations. Additionally, the Meridian Avenue façade incorporates a reinterpretation of a portion of the original 1923 façade which further helps to breakdown the scale of the building. Staff would recommend however, that the north and west elevations be further developed to break up the large expanses of blank stucco wall area. Further, the height, scale and mass of the proposed building is consistent with the recently completed single-family home located at 819 2nd Street and the larger, surrounding context of the Ocean Beach Local Historic District.

Finally, staff would note that there is an existing specimen Calophyllum tree located within the Meridian Avenue right-of-way. City staff has expressed concern relative to the impact the new building may have on this existing tree. Staff has included a number of recommended conditions within the draft Order so as to ensure the viability of this tree into the future.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS

The applicant is requesting the following variances:

  1. A variance to reduce by 3,250.72 sq. ft. the minimum required lot area of 5,750 sq. ft. within the RPS-2 zoning district in order to construct a single-family residential building on a property with a lot area of 2,499.28 sq. ft. Variance requested from: Sec. 142-696. Residential performance standard area requirements. The residential performance standard area requirements are as follows: Minimum lot area, RPS2: 5,750 square feet
  2. A variance to reduce by 5.37’ the minimum required lot width of 50.0’ within the RPS-2 district in order to construct a single-family residential building on a property with a lot width of 44.63’. Variance requested from: Sec. 142-696. Residential performance standard area requirements. The residential performance standard area requirements are as follows: Minimum lot width, RPS2: 50 feet

The subject property was originally platted with the two adjacent sites to the west as part of Lot 8, Block 77 and later subdivided as three separate properties, including 6 feet of Lot 7 to the north. All three properties fronting 2nd Street are non-conforming with regard to lot area and lot width in their current configurations. The subject lots size is 2,499.28 sq. ft., where the minimum required is 5,750 sq. ft. within the RPS-2 district. The existing lot width of 47.63’ is also non-conforming, as the minimum required lot width is 50.0’.

Without the granting of these variances, the construction of the proposed residential building, or any new structure for that matter, would not be permitted. Staff finds that the existing size of the lot and existing lot width, establishes the hardship that justifies the variances requested.

  1. A variance to reduce by 2’-8” the minimum required side facing a street setback of 5’-0” in order to construct a portion of the building with a setback of 2’-4” from the east side property line. Variance requested from:

Sec. 142-697. – Setback requirements in the R-PS1, 2, 3, 4 districts.

(a) The setback requirements in the R-PS1, 2, 3, 4 districts are as follows: Pedestal and subterranean, Side, Facing a Street: 5 feet

This variance request is related to the introduction of a reinterpretation of a portion of the original 1923 façade of the existing building. The reinterpreted façade serves as site wall and incorporates the pedestrian entrance to the home. Staff finds that the special condition in which the applicant is proposing to introduce an element that recalls the history of the site in combination with the substandard lot area justifies the granting of a variance. Staff would note that as part of the draft conditions, staff is recommending that a plaque be located on this portion of the building that outlines the historical development of the site and the surrounding historic district.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the application, inclusive of the requested variances, be approved subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness and Practical Difficulty and Hardship criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position [from Nov 8, 2022]:

MDPL is thankful to the applicant for presenting to our advocacy committee. We appreciate the program requirements of the current owner and have reviewed the structural reports provided in the application. However, we are adamantly opposed to the total demolition of the contributing historic structure and we reject the claims that the building cannot be rebuilt or reconstructed.

Although the historic one-story home may need significant repair/rebuilding, we believe that this is not an undue burden in comparison to the cost involved in building a new multi-story structure that is significantly larger than the original building.

In addition, maintaining/rebuilding just one side of the historic structure is not in keeping with the Secretary of Interior standards for historic preservation. It feels like pasting a facade onto a completely contrasting structure. We simply cannot encourage demolition by neglect by supporting this project.

NEW APPLICATIONS

HPB22-0518, 407 Lincoln Road

Current Site

Proposed Structure

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition and renovation of an existing building.

CITY STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness with conditions.

more details->407 Lincoln Road

STAFF ANALYSIS

The 407 Lincoln Road building was constructed in 1955 and designed by architect Edwin T. Reeder in the Post War Modern style of architecture. The 13-story office tower was built for the Miami Beach Federal Savings and Loan Association who occupied the entire ground level and several upper office levels. The building is classified as Non-Contributing within the Flamingo Park Local Historic District. The applicant is currently requesting approval for the substantial renovation of the existing building including modifications to all four facades as well as the lobby and roof deck.

Façade alterations

The original 1955 exterior design of the building incorporated large expanses of staggered opaque turquoise glass panels interspersed with grey glass windows, all set within an anodized aluminum frame system. Additionally, the vertical elements of the tower were accented with black granite cladding. The west façade (which contains no windows), is dominated by a vertical white stucco band (denoting the location of the elevator hoistways within the building) with black glazed tiles to either side. In 1987, prior to the designation of this portion of the Flamingo Park Historic District, the Design Review Board approved the replacement of the original turquoise glass panels with dark blue reflective glass panels that remain in place today.

The applicant has hired the design firm of Foster + Partners to reimagine the building, taking into consideration environmental factors, modern office requirements as well as compatibility with the surrounding historic district. The new primarily glass tower design features projecting sunshades at each level, as well as the introduction of double height exterior terraces at the northeast and southeast corners of the building. In order to effectuate the proposed design, the application is requesting the substantial demolition of the north, east and south facades of the building. Along the west façade, the application is proposing the removal of the black tile and the introduction of new terraces within the western corners of each level of the building, requiring limited demolition of the west façade. Further, the applicant is developing a proposal for the introduction of an art wall to be located on the blank stucco portion of the west façade. It is important to note that any future art installation on this façade will require the review and approval of the Board, and potentially the City Commission, at a later date and prior to installation.

Lobby alterations

The building lobby is located along the western side of the ground level and has entrances from both Lincoln Road and Lincoln Lane North. The remainder of the ground floor is occupied by Bank of America. The applicant is proposing design modifications to the lobby space. Notably, the ceiling is proposed to be removed in order to expose the original cast in place structure of the floor above. Additionally, the existing mosaic artwork is proposed to be retained and relocated above the lobby entrance to the bank. Currently, no substantive alterations are proposed within the interior of the bank at this time. Staff would note that there are several additional pieces of artwork proposed retained within the bank. Both the artwork within the lobby and bank are attributed to noted artist Kay Pancoast.

Roof deck and clock alterations

The existing roof deck contains mechanical and electrical equipment necessary for the operation of the building. The applicant is proposing to expand the existing mechanical penthouse in order to consolidate this equipment within a single area, allowing for access of the building occupants to the roof level. Additionally, a new trellis structure is proposed to be introduced at the roof level. Finally, the existing digital clocks located on each side of the mechanical penthouse are proposed to be replaced with new modern digital clock systems in approximately the same locations.

In summary, staff is extremely supportive of the proposed renovation project. Although the existing building does have some architectural merit, the bold design is an anomaly along the City’s most prominent commercial corridor. The modifications proposed, including the introduction of the horizontal sunshades and landscaped outdoor terraces, break down the scale of the building lessening its visual impact on the historic urban landscape.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position:

MDPL’s advocacy committee met with the applicant and reviewed the project. Generally, we agree with staff recommendations and are supportive of this project. This building, at a prominent location along Lincoln Road, is visible throughout South Beach. The existing turquoise exterior glass panels were changed in 1987 through a DRB order, and the facade contrasts with the primary architecture style of the area.

We feel that this newer and cleaner design contextually is more appropriate with the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood. Since the existing building is classified as non-contributing, the proposal appears to give new life to the building while retaining and readapting a good amount of the structure, particularly the honeycomb ceilings and the prominent lobby mural.

Regarding the blank west elevation of the building, we suggest a future permanent art installation vs a digital mural (though this is not part of the current application). We do not believe that an “electronic super graphic,” aka digital video screen, is appropriate for this prominent location.

Also, we have concerns, given the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, of light pollution impacting nearby Soundscape Park, especially on nights there are concerns and movie screenings. We look forward to the board deliberations.

HPB22-0545, 1745 James Avenue.

Current Site

Proposed Site

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the total demolition of an existing building and the construction of a new building as part of a new hotel development on the site including a variance from the loading space requirements.

CITY STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness with conditions.

Approval of the variance with conditions.

more details->1745 James Avenue

STAFF ANALYSIS

Staff would preface this analysis by noting that the Board reviewed and approved a Certificate of Appropriates and a variance for the same project on July 14, 2020 (HPB19-0354). A Full Building Permit was not obtained by January 14, 2022 and an extension is not possible at this time. Consequently, the applicant has submitted a new application and is essentially requesting ‘re- approval’ of the project.

The applicant requesting approval for the design of a new 5-story hotel with 90 units and a rooftop amenity deck. In order to construct the new building, the applicant is proposing the total demolition of the existing 2-story structure.

Request for total demolition

The existing building proposed to be demolished was originally constructed as two separate multifamily residential structures; 1735 James Avenue was constructed in 1953 and 1745 James Avenue was constructed in 1951. Each of the buildings was designed in the Post War Modern style of architecture. In 1984, both were acquired by a single owner and were renovated and connected to each other through the construction of a new front addition with a 1980s “Art Deco” façade. At the same time, substantial modifications to the interior courtyard elevations were made.

In 1990, this property was designated as part of the Museum Local Historic District. At that time, the unified structure was classified as one Non-Historic/Conforming building. The Historic Properties Database card for this building notes “new façade is modern adaptation of deco style conforming in scale and setting”. Prior to 1994, the Historic Preservation Ordinance allowed for four Historic Properties Database classifications. On May 4, 1994, the Ordinance (94-2926) was amended requiring all properties to be classified as either Contributing or Non-Contributing, and all properties that were previously classified Non-Historic/Conforming were automatically and without review, reclassified to Contributing. As recently discussed, the Historic Properties Database has not been fully reevaluated with regard to current building classifications and erroneous classifications are likely to exist especially within historic districts designed prior to 2000.

Regardless of the structure’s current classification, staff has evaluated the existing building and the modifications that have taken place over time. The 1984 renovations outlined above substantially altered the original Post War Modern design of each building and little to no original significant architectural details remain. As such, staff has no objection to the proposed total demolition and replacement with a new building that is consistent with the scale and character of the surrounding historic district.

New 5-story hotel building

The applicant is proposing to construct a 5-story hotel on the site. The building consists of 90 hotel units, all of which have access to private outdoor balconies and a rooftop pool deck. Staff is supportive of the application and would commend the applicant for proposing to construct a high- quality structure on the site. The overall contemporary design language proposed incorporates variations in surface finishes and changes in plane that serve to breakdown the scale of the building. Further, the distribution of architectural form has resulted in a new structure that is generally compatible with the neighboring buildings and the surrounding historic district.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS

The applicant is requesting the following variance:

1. A variance to eliminate the requirement to provide two off-street loading spaces for a new hotel containing 90 hotel units. Variance requested from:

Sec. 130-101. – Space requirements and location.

When any new building or structure is erected, or an existing building is modified resulting in an increase in FAR, accessory off-street loading spaces shall be provided for the new building, new structure, or increase in floor area in accordance with the following schedule: (3) For any residential building or hotel building:

b. Over 50 units but not more than 100 units: Two spaces.

The applicant is requesting a variance to eliminate the on-site loading space requirement associated with the construction of a new 90-unit hotel. The subject site is located mid-block on James Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets and does not have access to an alley. According to the applicant’s letter of intent, the applicant is working with the Parking Department to maintain an existing on-street loading space in front of the property. Staff is supportive of the variance request, as providing a curb cut and driveway for loading spaces would adversely impact the character of the surrounding historic district and significantly diminish the quality of the pedestrian experience within this dense urban neighborhood.

As such, staff finds that the limitations of the interior site with only one street front and no alley acess create the practical difficulties for the granting of the variance. Additionally, to help mitigate loading operations and ensure that any potential adverse impacts are minimized, staff has included several recommended conditions within the draft final Order.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness and variance be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position [from Aug 10, 2020]:

MDPL supports the staff recommendations to the board.

HPB22-0546, 1901 Collins Avenue.

Current Site

Proposed Site

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting a waiver from Section 118-564(f)(6) to allow for the issuance of a demolition permit for the Non-Contributing structures prior to the approval of a building permit for the approved project. 

CITY STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Approval of the waiver.

more details->1901 Collins Avenue

STAFF ANALYSIS

On May 10, 2022, the Board approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition, renovation and restoration of the Cromwell and Shore Club hotel buildings, the total demolition of the existing 20-story addition and a 2-story cabana structure, the introduction of a new multifamily residential tower and landscape and hardscape improvements as part of the redevelopment of the site.

The applicant is currently requesting the Board waive the requirement to obtain Planning Department approval of a full building permit for new construction prior to the issuance of a demolition permit for the Non-Contributing structures, pursuant to Section 118-564(f)(6) of the City Code:

A building permit shall not be issued for the demolition of any building, structure, improvement, landscape feature, public interior or site individually designated in accordance with sections 118-591, 118-592 and 118-593, or located within an historic district until the new or replacement construction for the property has been approved and until all of the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. The issuance of a building permit process number for the new construction;
  2. The building permit application and all required plans for the new construction shall be reviewed and approved by the planning department;
  3. All applicable fees for the new construction shall be paid, including, but not limited to, building permit and impact fees, as well as applicable concurrency and parking impact fees;
  4. A tree survey, if required, shall be submitted and a replacement plan, if required, shall be reviewed and approved by the Greenspace Management Division;
  5. All debris associated with the demolition of the structure shall be recycled, in accordance with the applicable requirements of the Florida Building Code.

For noncontributing structures located in one of the city’s historic districts, this requirement may be waived or another permit substituted at the sole discretion of the historic preservation board.

The granting of the waiver would allow the applicant to obtain a demolition permit for the Non- Contributing portions of the site prior to the issuance of a full building permit for the entire project. Based upon the timeline submitted with the applicant’s Letter of Intent, the applicant anticipates that the granting of the waiver request would result in the completion of the project approximately 11 months sooner.

Staff has no objection to the waiver and would note that the request pertains only to the Non- Contributing portions of the site that were approved to be demolished by the Board as part of the May 10, 2022 approval.

RECOMMENDATION
In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the application be approved subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order.

MDPL Position:

MDPL does not have a position on this application as of the publish date of this post.

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