Historic preservation board defers hotel conversion for Miami Beach’s South-of-Fifth
If developers want their projects approved in Miami Beach, they apparently had best not put off meeting with neighbors for nine years.
The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board on Monday deferred what could otherwise have been a routine request to change a building’s use from multi-family residential to suites hotel after it learned the building’s owner had not met with the South-of-Fifth Neighborhood Association to address concerns about how the building would be used.
In 2008, the board approved the renovation and restoration of the two-story building at 250 Collins, which the developer, TwoFifty Collins LLC, managed by Alessandro Renzetti, said would be turned into a 27-unit condominium. The building is zoned R-PS3, allowing for either condominium use or hotel and suites hotel use, and TwoFifty Collins returned to the board on Monday asking for minor modifications to proceed with a conversion to a suites hotel.
But after longtime community activist Frank Del Vecchio raised concerns about potential commercial uses of the building’s rooftop pool area and its restaurant areas, the board hit the pause button. Del Vecchio told the board that the developer has made no attempt to meet with the South-of-Fifth Neighborhood Association, and the group had not had time to organize any response to the change-of-use application.
In fact, Del Vecchio told the board that the developer had made no attempt to meet with any of the building’s neighbors since its original application for a 27-unit condo was approved in 2008. Jose Carlos, the project architect who was acting as the developer’s representative at the hearing, told board members that TwoFifty Collins had no plans to use the property for any use not approved in the code but that the developer was currently in negotiations with hotel operators and was seeking approval as soon as possible.
In December, Renzetti’s TwoFifty Collins put the building on the market for $22 million. The entity had purchased the building for $3.8 million in 2008.
Board members deferred any action until their next meeting on May 9. Board chairman Stevan Pardo told architect Carlos that after nine years, TwoFifty Collins needed to take some time to address neighbors’ concerns. “You got approved for a residence and now you want to change it to commercial use, and the ownership had not reached out in nine years to the community,” said Pardo.