South Florida report

Razing ‘20s houses in Miami Beach, new development on Fisher Island, and more

A rendering of Palazzo Del Sol
A rendering of Palazzo Del Sol

Miami Beach’s wrecking ball

With waterfront residential land in Miami Beach at a premium, some members of the wealthy elite are razing historic homes in the city to make way for new mansions.

Local preservationists have been unable to stop the wave of historic house demolitions. The latest property owner to get a go-ahead for the wrecking ball is a company tied to Jeffrey Altman’s New York-based hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management. The company is replacing an 89-year-old home at 2156 North Bay Road with a contemporary-style house and tennis court. It is already razing a nearby 1925-era residence, and replacing it with a 10,000-square-foot mansion designed by Coconut Grove-based architect Max Strang.

Another financial exec, Lion Financial managing partner Michael Simkins, is replacing a 1920s-era Mediterranean Revival mansion at 5869 Pinetree Drive with an exact replica of the original structure. And Stuart Miller, the CEO of homebuilder Lennar, is planning to demolish an 83-year-old Star Island residence that was once home to Miami pioneer Carl Fisher.

Requests to raze pre-1942 homes in Miami Beach have surged to 35 in 2014 from three in 2011, according to the Miami Design Preservation League.

Fisher Island gets condos

Carl Fisher’s former Miami Beach home might be in peril, but the Miami island that he developed nearly a century ago is experiencing its first condo construction activity in seven years.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

A developer is moving forward with a pair of 10-story projects on Fisher Island dubbed Palazzo Del Sol and Palazzo Della Luna. Work on the first, the 47-unit Palazzo Del Sol, is underway. The condos are being marketed at prices ranging from $5 million to $32.5 million. Construction could wrap up by January 2016. Sister project Palazzo Della Luna is slated for initial foundation work next year and an early 2018 completion.

The projects were held up by a lengthy interfamily legal battle between the heirs of late Georgian billionaire Arkady “Badri” Patarkatsishvili and Joseph Kay, a cousin and former business partner of Patarkatsishvili. Kay unsuccessfully attempted to seize control of Patarkatsishvili’s assets, including the Palazzo sites, in courts around the world over the last three years.

Big bets on Design District

The partnership behind the $1 billion transformation of Miami’s Design District into a luxury retail destination recently scored a huge investment from two industry giants.

General Growth Properties and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. teamed up to acquire a 20 percent stake in the redevelopment of the 18-square-block neighborhood north of downtown Miami in a $280 million deal. The project includes 1.2 million square feet of mostly retail space to be owned and operated by a venture between Craig Robins-led Dacra and private equity fund L Real Estate, along with a boutique hotel and condo building. The partnership is mulling a future expansion of up to 2 million square feet.

Since the Dacra and L Real Estate venture launched the redevelopment last year, A-list retailers like Cartier, Fendi, Hermès and Louis Vuitton have opened stores in the district.