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Miami Beach board greenlights condo tower in historic zone

A rendering of the residential condominium building before the changes approved on Oct. 10, 2023.
Kobi Karp
A rendering of the residential condominium building before the changes approved on Oct. 10, 2023.

The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board on Tuesday, Oct. 10, approved a proposed luxury condominium building that would go up behind the historic Sagamore Hotel on Collins Avenue.

The board allowed the building’s height to remain at 183 feet, but it will require some changes to the location of the tower from the ocean side. Because the approved condo building will be the tallest on the block, the board requires a setback of at least 15 feet to the west starting at the 50th foot on upwards. Some said they hoped this would help preserve historic skyline views from the boardwalk.

Next, the applicant can file for a building permit, unless a neighboring property owner files an appeal. The Miami Beach City Commission will not need to take any action following the Historic Preservation Board's vote.

The applicants include a group of hotel owners — of the Sagamore at 1671 Collins Ave., and the Ritz-Carlton, formerly called the DiLido, at 1 Lincoln Rd.

Miami Beach’s mayor and commissioners have already agreed to a private-public partnership that was tied to the condo building getting approved by the preservation board.

The owners of the Ritz-Carlton and Sagamore proposed to spend $4 million on renovations along the easternmost section of Lincoln Road, closest to Collins Avenue, and the city and state would put in another $4 million each. But they said they would only put forth the money if their building got approved.

READ MORE: Will a Miami Beach historic block become home to a modern glass tower?

Steven Avdakov, the founder and principal architect of Heritage Architectural Associates, opposed the condo development on behalf of the National Hotel, the Sagamore's neighbor on that block. He said the building is still too “rectilinear” for the mostly art deco zone.

“Our side was hopeful that there would be another opportunity to review what the proposed modifications would actually look like, but at this time has been approved," he told WLRN. "This is Miami Beach, it always has evolved but because of the significance of what there is here, we need to be a little more respectful towards that history.”

“It's about its relationship to that crown jewel skyline and how you have the Delano and the National and the Ritz with that refinement and all of a sudden you have this modern building with a straight block,” he said.

Peter Kanavos, a partner of the Ritz-Carlton Sagamore group, said the residential tower will bolster the city’s appeal to wealthy prospective residents and boost the city's tax base.

“It’s bringing in the type of high net worth individuals who are going to become permanent residents here,” he said. “[They] can support our businesses here, upgrade the offerings on Lincoln Road."

Kanavos rejected criticism that the 30-unit luxury tower would not attract enough full-time residents to make an impact on this section of South Beach, because he said Florida is attracting residents from high-tax, high-regulation states.

"The point is if we don't start somewhere and establish the principle that it's residents that are going to make a difference in this community, we're going to become Las Vegas by the sea."

Kanavos and the hoteliers will also spend on restoring the Sagamore Hotel.

Verónica Zaragovia was born in Cali, Colombia, and grew up in South Florida. She’s been a lifelong WLRN listener and is proud to cover health care, as well as Surfside and Miami Beach politics for the station. Contact Verónica at vzaragovia@wlrnnews.org
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