A preservation group will fight to designate The Miami Herald building as a historic landmark despite the proposal to demolish it and replace it with a mega-resort and casino.
The Dade Heritage Trust, responsible for successfully saving the Miami Circle, 1925 Freedom Tower and the Miami Marine Stadium, is currently drafting an application to submit to the City of Miami's preservation board for review on Feb. 7.
The debate to protect the 1963 building as a historic landmark will center around its architectural and historic value and how the preservation would affect the proposed $3.8 billion casino.
"It's a great example of mid-century modern architecture and it has many outstanding features of that era," Becky Roper Matkov, CEO of Dade Heritage Trust, told NBC Miami.
The Genting Group paid $235 million for the building and 10 acres of surrounding parking lots to build a gaming resort, but the resort could only be constructed if a casino bill is passed in Tallahassee. The bill would allow up to three mega-resort destination casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
“Any impacts derived from preserving the Herald building are far outweighed by the benefits that a new master-planned development will bring to the Omni neighborhood, including activating the downtown waterfront, employing tens of thousands of Floridians, generating meaningful tax revenue and adding value to a depressed area,” Christian Goode, the president of Genting's World Resorts Miami, said in a statement.
But supporters of the building's preservation believe they have a strong case due to the architecture of the building and its influence in the community.
"It didn't seem to be endangered and then the Genting project came from nowhere and has been steam-rollering along and I think it was a wake-up call," Matkov said.
The historic status of the building could be approved regardless of the plans of the Genting Group. Although demolition and changes to the exterior would be prohibited, it could still make additions to the building, The Miami Herald reported.
"It is a very important building, everything from Art Teele's suicide in the lobby to Don Wright winning the Pulitzer Prize for drawing cartoons in that building for the Miami News to Alvin Chapman running Miami as the CEO of Knight Ridder," Miami historian Dr. Paul George told NBC Miami.
The Miami Herald is owned by the McClatchy Company, but it has no say in the site's future.