Miami Beach’s Historic Preservation Board asked the city on Tuesday to hire an independent structural engineer to take a look at the Deauville Beach Resort in the hopes that something can be done to prevent a complete demolition.
The board’s request was in response to the city manager saying a demolition order would be issued once the city verified a structural report submitted by the owners that found the place was beyond repair.
“I think our building manager is in a tough spot," Commissioner Steven Meiner said. "Now we have an engineering report that says this is a public safety hazard and that requires almost immediate demolish before hurricane season."
The finding came as no surprise to city leaders and preservationists, who claim the owners cared more about selling the hotel than preserving it.
Board members took great issue with the city for not doing more to enforce renovations at the historic property where the Beatles played and where President John F. Kennedy once spoke to young Democrats.
"Now we are talking about saving trinkets from the building, which is absolutely pathetic," historic preservation board chair Jack Finglass said in the meeting. "This is shanda on the city that it’s gotten to this point."
An attorney for owners said they met with the city on Tuesday and are working on plans to redevelop the hotel.
The city said a new building must be the same height, square footage, and general shape as the existing property.
“We’re a quasi-judicial board and we are limited in our power, but this is a huge issue and I’m seeing a real pattern of losing the integrity and what makes Miami Beach so special," said Laura Weinstein-Berman of the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board.
Whether the city commissions its own structural report will depend on city engineers, who are getting a look inside the property later this week. Until now, they've only been allowed to check out the exteriors.
The Deauville closed in 2017 after faulty wiring led to a fire. In April of that same year, the owners failed to submit a 40-year re-certification.
Three years later, the beach walk behind the property was closed for a bit after debris fell from the building, and in 2020, the city began issuing fines for “failure to prevent demolition by neglect."