Historic designation for iconic South Beach building moves forward

1700 Alton Road in Miami Beach
1700 Alton Road in Miami Beach

The area surrounding West Avenue, 17th Street and Alton Road on South Beach is quickly becoming a “go-to” destination for boutique hotels catering to the thousands of visitors who flock to Lincoln Road. A 116-room Residence Inn recently opened on 17th Street at the northern end of West Avenue and a restored five-story building built in 1922 that was once the second tallest high-rise building on Miami Beach will soon join it.

The city’s planning board on Tuesday approved a request to designate the 94-year-old Mediterranean revival building at 1700 Alton Road as historic, passing its recommendation to the city commission, which is expected to approve the designation.

New York investors, AC 1700 Alton Owner – controlled by Adam Verner of Springhouse Partners and Chaim Cahane of Forte Capital Management – spent $21 million last year to acquire the building with the aim of restoring the mixed-use structure to its original role as a hotel. The 15,000-square-foot site last sold for $1 million in 1991.

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Historic designation will allow AC 1700 to begin extensive renovations that will include restoring the interior of the building and ground floor retail space to its original look, as well as the replacement of all exterior windows and the installation of awnings on upper floor windows on the east and south sides of the building.

Historic designation will also allow the owners of the building to avoid paying any parking impact fees in the heavily trafficked area. The building is currently a mix of 8,165 square feet of ground floor retail anchored by a popular Vespa showroom and 70-studio apartments. It has 25 parking spaces and a 5,000-square foot courtyard.

The city’s historic preservation board describes the building as “a good example of the Spanish Mediterranean style of architecture popular in the 1920s,” saying the building which opened as the Mayflower Hotel “retains much of its architectural integrity, despite several alterations that have been made over time.”