Miami Beach lifeguard stands to be taken down, replaced

Report: Lifeguard stands lack South Beach flair

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Alongside the white sand and sparkling surf of Miami Beach sits 29 colorful lifeguard stands. Many of them are iconic, inspiring books, T-shirts, keychains, postcards and posters.

Miami Beach officials said by next year they'll be taken down and replaced.

"When you have structures on the ocean, there's a lot of wind, there's a lot of salt, there's a lot of wear and tear. And that's our front door. That's the beginning of where our brand takes place," said Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

Apparently, that brand needs a facelift.

According to the city's Design Review Board staff report, discussions about replacing the lifeguard stands began in November of 2006. In January of this year the board approved six new designs with the plan to have them installed by March of 2015 -- the city's centennial.

In the report, the old red-and-white lighthouse-style lifeguard stand at South Pointe is "New England" in style, but lacks South Beach flair. Other lifeguard stands constructed by the city's Property Management division post-hurricane Wilma "had dubious style, and although still photographed by tourists, were generally considered decorated in questionable taste," the report reads.

"I think it's going to be a positive shock, because the new styles and designs are really hip, they're really cool, and they match what Miami Beach is all about," Levine said.

The updated drawings do have ties to the past. Architect William Lane, who designed several of the most iconic lifeguard stands in the 1990s, drew up the new ones as well. The new designs have a space-age, art deco appeal. One of the drawings looks similar to the "Jetsons" style pink lifeguard stand currently at 10th Street.

"The cost is about $30,000-$50,000 each -- out of probably about $1.2 to $1.5 million that's already been budgeted," Levine said.

What will become of the old lifeguard stands is still being decided. 

"We're thinking about that right now. I think they'd be a fabulous auction item. Couldn't you imagine having one in your back yard?" said Levine.

A Miami Beach spokesperson said commissioners have to bid out construction plans.