Local 10 gets tour of Star Island mansion

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Dr. Leonard Hochstein and wife Lisa Hochstein have been battling Miami Beach's historic preservation board for months over the demolition of their Star Island mansion which was built in 1925.

Leonard allowed Local 10 in their home for the first time to show why the demolition is necessary.

The waterfront mansion was designed by Walter Degarmo, Florida's first registered architect. It was also designated an historic landmark in order to save it from the demolition ball.

The Hochstein's purchased the mansion in 2011 for around $7.6 million.

"We really bought it for the land," Leonard said. "There's no better place to build a home and raise a family. The reason my wife and (I) purchased this home is (because it's) one of the most incredible properties in all of Miami. Over an acre of land, 250 feet of waterfront and a beautiful view of Miami Beach."

Daniel Ciraldo and his group, Miami Preservation League have put a stop to the Hochstein's pulverizing plans, at least temporarily, by appealing to the 11th Circuit Court.

Ciraldo said the house is symbolic of the boom time of Miami Beach.

"Every single person except the engineer determined the home could be saved," said Ciraldo.

"You can see that all of the concrete, the plaster is literally coming apart," Leonard said. "You can look and see there's cracks that have been repaired through really, every square inch of the house. You can see hanging out here the original cloth wiring. Everything has been done without code. It's a fire hazard that no one would want their family to live in. The roof is bowing, the plumbing on the second floor doesn't work, the wood frames are rotten. "It's impossible to keep this house. The foundation is 30 inches below flood. The roof is about ready to collapse. There's not a portion of this house that can be renovated. I think its silly. I could never go to your home and tell you how to decorate your home or build your home."

The Hochstein's have expressed that they'd like to salvage some parts of the home.

"I think this is a beautiful hand painted ceiling and we're going to incorporate that into the new home," Leonard said.
the Hochstein's continue to push forward with their plans of making their dream home a reality.

"There's no question that these preservationists are trying to take advantage of my wife's fame and get publicity for themselves.

For now, the battle of 42 Star Island rages on with the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board voting this week to recommend historic designation of the mansion.

Meanwhile the circuit court is yet to decide if and when it will lift the demolition ban, but the Hochsteins are confident. They're planning a star studded demolition party for the end of 2013.