Demolish the Deauville in Miami Beach, inspectors say

Preservationists push to save Collins Ave. landmark where Beatles played

The Deauville Beach Resort became a landmark on Collins Avenue and even hosted one of The Beatles' first American performances. It's future remains in the air.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A historic building in Miami Beach may be history.

The city says it has done its own inspection of the Deauville Beach Resort and that its experts agree with the report put out by the structural engineer hired by the building’s owner.

That report says the Collins Avenue landmark is unsafe and cannot be saved due to structural defects.

However, Miami Beach’s city commission met Thursday and all of the commissioners say they want the building kept up, if possible.

The Deauville was built in 1957 and was once an attraction to the famous.

It was in the Napoleon Ballroom in the hotel where The Beatles did one of their first American performances in 1964.

The property has a unique architectural style and became a South Florida cultural landmark.

“Very much a sad day for the city of Miami Beach and the historic preservation community in all of South Florida,” Miami Beach Deputy City Manager Eric Carpenter said.

Preservationists don’t believe this is a done deal, though, and they remain hopeful the building can still be saved.

“There may be a case here of demolition by neglect,” said Daniel Ciraldo of the Miami Design Preservation League. “Meaning that these owners may be purposely letting this building decline so they can demolish it and potentially replace it with a high-rise. That is not what Miami Beach is about. We’re about preserving our history, and so we want to make sure that all the right steps are taken to protect this landmark building.”

City leaders blame the property owner for its demise. They hope a judge and the property owner will allow them inside to do a further report and say the owner has thus far been uncooperative.

Preservationists are trying to save the Deauville Beach Resort on Collins Avenue where The Beatles have played and the famous once gathered on Miami Beach.

Local 10 News reached out to the owner’s attorney and has not heard back.

In a letter to the commission and Mayor Dan Gelber, City Manager Alina Hudak suggests that they’re out of options, saying there have been years of enforcement action and litigation with the property, including $1.7 million in fines.

“After years of enforcement action and litigation, including over $1.7M in fines, the owner has finally provided the required Structural Condition Assessment Report,” she wrote in that letter Wednesday. “Unfortunately, that report makes clear that the building is unsafe and cannot be saved due to structural defects.”

Preservationists say the property was purchased for $4 million in 2004, but they believe the land alone is now valued at $100 million.

“We would say that the value to the community, the history, the memories there are worth even more,” Ciraldo said.

Read the city manager’s letter below:

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.