Tony Montana lived at 42 Star Island Drive in the movie “Scarface.” Now, the glamorous home is at the center of a different kind of drama.
Lisa Hochstein, a star of “The Real Housewives of Miami,” wants to tear down the house and replace it with a new one.
She made her pitch before the Miami Beach Design Review Board on Tuesday.
“This is the home of our dreams. We’re not trying to hurt anybody. We plan on living here for the rest of our lives,” Hochstein said. “We just want to build a safe home for our family and this is our dream home so I hope that you guys approve this today.”
Preservationists, however, would like to see the 87-year-old home restored.
Designed by Walter DeGarmo, it was deemed an architecturally significant structure. But a recently discovered loophole in Miami Beach's preservation law makes it possible for it to be demolished, because Star Island is not one of the 12 designated historic districts.
“There is no law that protects individual homes in neighborhoods,” said Charles Urstadt of the Miami Design Preservation League. “The city of Coral Gables has a law like that. So does the city of Miami.”
Bloggers have been blasting plans for the new home and taking shots at its reality TV star owner.
“It's unfortunate that Lisa was ridiculed – you know, ‘The Real Housewives of Miami’ is an avenue to ridicule her – when they should be treated just like any other applicant appearing before the board,” responded her attorney, Michael Larkin.
The show airs on Bravo, which like NBC 6 South Florida is owned by NBCUniversal.
In the end, the board held off making a decision until a new engineering study can be done analyzing core samples from the home.
“Sometimes homes can't be saved because the concrete is so weak, so that's what they want the future report to reflect,” Larkin said.
When the more comprehensive engineering report is complete, it will be presented to the Design Review Board early next year.