Miami Beach residents have seen prized historic homes demolished in their city for years now. Sadly, local historic preservation laws do not adequately protect these houses which are integral to the fabric and quality of life of the community and representative of its history.
Recently, MDPL noticed an alarming uptick in the number of historic homes being demolished in order to erect significantly larger structures. Often, the owners of the properties are speculators looking to flip the new houses.
42 Star Island (above, top) is one of the most visible and beloved Miami Beach historic homes. Seen by millions of travelers over the MacArthur Causeway, the house was built in 1925 for industrialist C.E. Fowler. Now, the latest owners have applied to the Miami Beach Design Review Board to demolish the house in order to erect a new structure resembling the White House (above, bottom).
The city staff report on the application to demolish the house describes the existing structure:
The existing house was constructed in 1925 and designed by architects Degarmo & Varney. It is unfortunate that this classic three story 1925 Miami Beach grand residence, designed by Walter Degarmo (b. 1876), one of the most distinguished architects to practice in South Florida, will be lost rather than retained and properly restructured to meet structural deficiencies, and restored to its exceptional original design. As a reference to the stature of Walter Degarmo’s design work, he designed the Community Church, located at 500 Lincoln Road, for Carl Fisher in 1921.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Send an email to Richard Lorber, Acting Director of Planning, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also sign an online petition started by resident Daniel Ciraldo at www.change.org/petitions
MDPL is working to address current laws in order to help prevent the demolition of historic houses and will have more to report in future MDPL Newsletters.
Miami Design Preservation League