Star Island home clear to be torn down

Preservationists lose fight to save historic home


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Despite protests by a preservationist group, a famed Star Island home owned by "Real Housewife of Miami's" Lisa Hochstein and her plastic surgeon husband is cleared to be torn down.

The waterfront home was built in 1925 by Florida's first registered architect. It was too historic, the preservationist group argued, to be lost.

But because the city never deemed the landmark historic, there wasn't much they could do to save it.

On Thursday, the Miami Design Preservation League ended its legal efforts to preserve the house.

That means the couple can demolish it to make way for their more modern dream home.

"My wife and I are grateful for the efforts of the mayor and commission to make our dream a reality, to build a home where we can start and raise a family," said Dr. Leonard Hochstein.

As part of their negotiations with the MDPL, which had sought legal action opposing plans for the property, the Hochsteins donated $25,000 to the group.

The money will help defray some of the legal costs MDPL incurred in their failed attempt to save the mansion from demolition.

The fight over the mansion has led to a citywide discussion about preservation. So in many ways, the historical home made history by becoming history.

"This is a sad day for Miami Beach," said preservationist Daniel Ciraldo. "We spent the past year working to save the home. In the end, it was in the hands of the commission and mayor. They decided not to do it. This loss will be remembered for generations to come."

In an email to Local 10, attorney Kent Harrison Robbins wrote, "This action allows MDPL to focus on its educational programs and the preservation advocacy that have made it one of the nation's premier preservation organizations."

Over the phone, Hochstein also told Local 10's Christina Vazquez they expect the demolition permit to be issued as early as next week. They plan to start demolishing the home immediately. They will host a small demolition event to thank their supporters.