Al Capone’s Miami Beach home is no more — here’s why the city couldn’t save it from demolition

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Much to the dismay of local preservationists, famed gangster Al Capone’s one-time home on Miami Beach’s Palm Island has met the wrecking ball.

The waterfront Spanish-style estate, located at 93 Palm Ave., was built in 1922 by brewing magnate Clarence Busch and eventually became owned by the notorious Prohibition-era gangster.

Capone’s wife, Mae, sold it in 1952, five years after his death. The property was later sold to 93 Palm Residence LLC, managed by Coral Gables accountant Toni Alam, for $15.5 million in 2021.

“The growth of South Florida is very closely tied to the prohibition-era,” Daniel Ciraldo, the executive director of the Miami Design Preservation League, said. “There is nothing like seeing real historic buildings to connect us to our past.”

“We don’t think we should cancel culture,” Ciraldo added.

An 2018 Elle Decor magazine profile on the estate said it underwent a “restoration to preserve the 1920′s structures while updating the amenities.”

Before its demolition, city spokesperson says as its Historic Preservation Board was in the process of evaluating it for possible designation as a local historic site a new state law took effect and “it was determined by the City Attorney that the Historic Preservation Board did not have the authority to consider the application without the consent of the property owner.”

Regarding the new law, Ciraldo said “it’s been a game of Whac-A-Mole with very high paid lobbyists and it looks like they have won.”

“Although we understood and expected that the demolition would happen it is still heartbreaking to see this really important part of our history knocked down and bulldozed,” he said.

Local 10 News contacted several representatives of the property owner via phone, text and email but had not received a response as of Friday evening.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."