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Miami Beach may soon lose the beloved, historic Deauville resort

The Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show telecast live from the Deauville hotel in Miami Beach in February 1964.
The Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show telecast live from the Deauville hotel in Miami Beach in February 1964.

The Deauville Beach Resort has been beloved by many for its place in the entertainment history of Miami Beach.

The hotel at 6701 Collins Avenue opened in 1958, and in its heyday, the Deauville lured some of the biggest names of the 20th century.

Most significantly, in 1964, Ed Sullivan telecast his show live from the Deauville, featuring the Beatles.

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When he introduced the band, the crowd's screams of joy nearly drowned out the beginning of "She Loves You."

Over the years, other performers included Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby — to name a few.

"Now we’re talking about saving trinkets from the building, which is absolutely pathetic in my point of view," said Jack Finglass, the outgoing chair of the Historic Preservation Board. "This is a shonda on the city that it’s gotten to this point."

Shonda is a Yiddish word that means disgrace.

"Nothing gets done, that’s why we’re here at this point," he said, referring to his frustration that Miami Beach city government didn't do more. "I just think saving chandeliers and railings and a porte-cochère is absurd!"

The hotel was shut down in July 2017 after a fire in its electrical room, and some months later in that same year, Hurricane Irma caused more damage.

Miami Beach sued the resort’s owners in 2019 for failing to maintain the property. The judge in the case is Judge Michael Hanzman, who's also in charge of the litigation after the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside. Hanzman doesn’t want a repeat of that catastrophe.

The resort owners are allowing Miami Beach officials to visit the Deauville on Friday.

The city wants to verify a report that recommends bringing it down. The hotel owners paid for that analysis made by an engineer.

"In the event that this evidence included in the structural report is confirmed, the building official may very likely order the building to come down," said Deborah Tackett. She is the historic preservation & architecture officer for Miami Beach.

Tackett told the board members that they may make recommendations to the city but can’t decide its ultimate fate. She also explained at this week's meeting of the Historic Preservation Board that any new building can’t exceed the current building’s height and scale.

Board members said they wanted to learn if any sections of the building can be saved.

WLRN reached out to the attorney representing the Deauville’s owners. An assistant said they were preparing a statement for the media, but it has still not been received despite following up.

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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