Miami Herald's building denied protected landmark status

Genting Group bought building in 2011

COCONUT GROVE, Fla. - South Floridians are reacting to the Miami's preservation board's decision against calling The Miami Herald's soon-to-be-empty bayfront home a protected landmark.

The board voted 5-3 against protecting the building Monday. The newspaper is moving to the former headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in suburban Doral next year.

"It's an old building," said longtime Miami resident Calvin Williams. "It's time for a change."

Williams told Local 10's Baron James he claims a stake in the newspaper's storied history.

"The Herald was good when I was a shorty," said Williams. "I used to throw newspapers for them."

The Herald's parent company sold its downtown property to the Genting Group for $236 million in 2011. Genting has proposed building a resort with a casino at the site.

30-year resident Barbara Beaudry said she supports the sentiment that it's time to go out with the old and in with the new.

"I don't think you can embrace your past to disallow yourself a future," said Beaudry.

Some critics of Genting's plans, including the Dade Heritage Trust, were fighting to get the Herald's yellow building designated as a protected landmark. The trust said when it was built, the building marked Miami's transition from amid-sized city to a modern metropolis.

The Dade Heritage Trust brought in five architectural experts to the meeting Monday. They said the building is full of outstanding examples of craftsmanship, design, and materials representative of the Mid-Century modern era.

"Think about the place in 20 or 30 years with the Miami Herald building anchoring the redevelopment and without it. With it, it becomes another exciting area to come just like Miami Beach is today," said architect Rick Gonzalez.

Critics of Genting's plans said that a report by the city's historic preservation office supports their efforts. The report finds that the building's history and design meet several criteria for landmark designation. However, it makes no recommendations to the board.

Opponents of the landmark designation, including architects working for Genting, said the structure is a corporate standard.

"The Herald building is an excellent example of the worst in post-war urban planning and architecture," said Rick Heisenbottle, another architect. "To designate it would only perpetuate a bad urban condition and glorify the architectural mistakes of the past."

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