After four hearings before the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board, New York-based HFZ Capital Group received approval to carry out the “near total demolition” of the Cromwell Hotel, a structure that will be part of an eventual luxury condo-hotel complex anchored by the iconic Shore Club hotel at 1901 Collins Avenue.
Saying they had made a “quantum shift” in their approach to the demolition of the Cromwell, HFZ representatives outlined new demolition plans that would add perimeter columns, a new cast wall around the perimeter of the structure and a steel core to anchor the building during demolition. The new demolition plans will take considerable load off the historic façade of the Cromwell and allow them to preserve all four walls of the structure, representatives said.
Board members voted unanimously in favor of the new plans saying, “real progress had been made,” calling them a “vast difference” from an earlier demolition proposal the board rejected in May.
In a surprise development, attorneys representing the adjacent Setai Resort and Residences, which sits just across 20th Street from the planned development, also dropped their objections to the demolition. But a separate group of attorneys representing an unnamed unit owner in the Setai did present expert testimony objecting to the demolition, saying more study was needed on the strength of the walls and potential impacts of wind load before any approval for demolition should take place.
Also on Tuesday, the board approved a separate motion limiting the construction of a porte cochére at the Shore Club to 16 feet and restricting valet parking along 20th Street.
At an earlier hearing in May, the board approved plans by HFZ Capital Group to restore and renovate the Shore Club, a Miami Beach landmark. When it is finished, the complex is expected to have 85 condo units and 100 hotel rooms, incorporating the rebuilt Cromwell structure as well as a five-story building on 20th Street housing gyms, conference rooms and a spa. HFZ purchased the Shore Club for $175.3 million at the end of December 2013.
In May, the board largely overruled objections from the Setai Condominium Association that deliveries, trash pickups and parking along 20th Street resulting from the new project will severely affect Setai residents. However, on Tuesday the board did agree to consider a request from attorneys representing the Setai Condominium Association for a re-hearing on some portions of the application that were incorrectly filed, but the move by the board is not expected impact HFZ’s plans to redevelop the site.