Stand with Art Deco: Don’t Be Fooled By Shady “Promises” on Miami Beach!

A rendering of the proposed Ritz Carlton/Sagamore Hotel looming over historic Art-Deco properties.

Miami Beach skyline without Art Deco buildings?  Skyscrapers towering over the beach and Collins Ave?  Save that for Sunny Isles. No thanks.

Miami Beach is going through major development, putting many iconic structures at risk of fading away. Now, after being rejected twice, the owners of the Ritz-Carlton and Sagamore hotels yet again seek to build an over 200-foot tall, 15 story, condo tower at the center of the iconic skyline of Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive/Collins Avenue Historic Preservation District.  The proposed out of scale, massive tower will not only loom over the last standing picture-postcard historic Art Deco buildings, it will degrade the history and cultural essence of Miami Beach. The new 200+ foot high tower would obstruct the views, cast shadows onto the Beachwalk and beach, and have a profound negative effect on the public spaces and the historic buildings in this district. 

The National Hotel, The Delano and the Ritz Plaza and what is left of this famed “Hotel Row,” stand as exemplar of Miami Beach’s architectural and cultural legacy. The National Hotel remains dedicated to the preservation of this heritage for future generations.

Miami Beach established the Ocean Drive/Collins Avenue Historic District to protect and preserve the historic development pattern and architectural styles of the district, which includes the remaining 1930s and 1940’s Art Deco hotels. The district’s unique “picture postcard” grouping of historic hotels requires urgent protection and preservation. The proposed intrusion of a massive, modern 200+–foot-tall building into this special area is disproportionate and incongruous with the surrounding historic structures within the district.

Recently, multiple proposals have been presented before the Historic Preservation Board of Miami Beach, including the above referenced giant tower. One such idea is a proposal to reorganize the 100 block of Lincoln Rd for aesthetic purposes.  But this project comes with a catch: the proposal (and some money to pay for it supposedly partially) is linked to the giant tower that would go up behind the historic Sagamore Hotel at 1671 Collins Avenue. This project would be immediately adjacent to the historic National Hotel, and would tower over its iconic cupola by 75 feet.

The supporters of this proposed plan claim that the tower, which would only have 30 residential units, would somehow clean up Miami Beach. It is my strong opinion that the construction of an individual building cannot reduce crime and disrepair. 

Don’t be fooled by promises.  A monstrous tower in the heart of the historic Art-Deco district is not needed, and no promise of new sidewalks and trees on Lincoln Road will change that. 

We must stand to protect the historic character of Miami Beach’s Art-Deco district from inappropriate overdevelopment as Barbara Capitman stood to protect the district from demolition 45 years ago.   

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