MIAMI-DADE, Fla. — Some potential changes could come to Miami Beach. A project to renovate historic hotels and build a brand new condominium tower has residents torn.
The idea went before Miami-Dade County’s Historic Preservation Board on Tuesday.
It’s a landscape South Florida natives know well. The famous Art Deco District of Miami Beach is home to hotels like the National and Ritz Carlton.
Some, like Steven Avdakov, the founder of Heritage Architectural Associates, believe they are now threatened.
“This is like the golden era skyline from the Art Deco Districts, one of the most significant Art Deco Districts of the world. So, whatever is placed there, in accordance with the regulations, it needs to defer to that. It needs to be complimentary to that,” states Avdakov.
Architects with the Ritz Carlton/Sagamore Group are proposing a multi-phase project.
The first part would be improvements to the 100 block of Lincoln Road. That includes fixing water and sewage systems, walkways and road improvements, and trying to minimize crime and homelessness and bring back tourism.
Some speakers at Tuesday’s meeting shared their support, “That’s going to really revitalize that area.”
A business owner of Miami Beach shared, “It’s abandoned, it’s nobody’s land. And as a business owner, I think it’s going to improve everyone’s business.”
Dozens of speakers said they were for the beautification of the area but against a tower being built.
One speaker in particular states, “We don’t need a tower to actually revitalize Lincoln Road and especially on the 100 block.”
Another public comment stated, “I would love to participate in the Lincoln Road, but not in exchange for this tower.”
Those against are talking about the second and third parts of this project.
It would restore the Sagamore Hotel and bring back its original design. It would also create a new 200-foot residential building and a walkway that connects Lincoln Road with the beach.
While there was significant opposition, there were some who favored it.
One speaker shared, “Look at the overall benefits; don’t just keep looking at the height or the setback. Look at the overall benefits that they are doing to the Sagamore, to the Ritz, put everything together, and it’s such a plus it’s not even close.”
A former resident of Miami Beach stated, “If there were more residential buildings in this area of Miami Beach, similar to Sunset Harbor, I think there would be more residents who care about their neighborhoods, support businesses year-round, and I think this whole area would naturally improve.”
The item has been rejected twice before, but developers keep coming back with new changes.
However, neighboring hotels like the Delano and National are concerned with the height and location of the tower and how it would affect beach access, and shadows on other properties.
The meeting on Tuesday started at 9 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. The board decided to continue discussions on these items at their October meeting.