A crown jewel of South Beach’s historic Art Deco scene is now at the center of a brewing battle.
A proposed 200-foot, 18-story glass residential tower is proposed to be built on property right next door to the historic Raleigh Hotel, which opened in 1940 on Collins Avenue and is world-renowned for its architecture and one-of-a-kind pool.
In order to make room for the tower, developers want to demolish a portion of two other historic hotels right next door — the Richmond, and South Seas, while at the same time restoring their front lobbies.
During a meeting Tuesday with the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board, developers presented their altered plans, scaling down the size of the new tower, which opponents view as too large and not in character with the surrounding district.
“We can’t destroy our Art Deco district one hotel at a time,” former Miami Beach commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez said. “It’s just way too big. The developer is trying to make concessions, knocking off five feet here and five feet there, but at the end of the day, it’s a massive 200-foot condo tower.”
Another concern is the possible shadows it would project on both the beach and the historic Raleigh pool.
Opponents are also worried about the precedent it would set for future development.
“It’s going to set a terrible precedent that any developer can come to Miami Beach, purchase a historic Art Deco hotel, and then hold it hostage,” Gonzalez said.
But at least one member of the historic preservation board sided with developers, arguing the tower would add to the site and keep the historic Raleigh Hotel from sitting empty and deteriorating. It’s currently closed for renovations.
“There is absolutely no impact on Raleigh Hotel,” board member Nancy Liebman said. “The purpose of having this building is to save The Raleigh.”
If the proposal does pass the historic preservation board it would next be heard by the planning and zoning board.
Source:: News Headlines