The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board unanimously directed city staff to look into the feasibility of designating the International Inn on the Bay in North Beach as an historic landmark, amid uncertainty about its future.
The action, which came during a meeting Tuesday, could lead to a moratorium on any demolition activity for the next 60 days if a preliminary report from the city’s Planning Department sees evidence that the International Inn is worthy of preservation, said Deborah Tackett, chief of historic preservation.
Daniel Ciraldo, executive director of the Miami Design Preservation League, recommended the move, pointing out that the hotel’s location at 2301 Normandy Drive, just feet away from John F. Kennedy Causeway, makes it a gateway to Miami Beach. The hotel also has historic significance as it was built in 1956 and designed by renowned architect Melvin Grossman, Ciraldo said.
The future of the International Inn is uncertain, Ciraldo added. Under current zoning laws, the International Inn can be replaced by a 50-foot-tall multifamily building with up to 51 residential units.
During the meeting, Ciraldo also pointed out that the International Inn made the news when an alleged pimp was busted at that hotel during a string of sex-trafficking arrests. (Kudirka Cureton was arrested at the International Inn for human trafficking, coercing someone to commit sexual activity, battery, and grand theft, according to a March 3rd Miami Beach Police report.)
“It’s owned by a family who has owned it for many years,” Ciraldo told the board. “I have been contacted by the top developers [who] reached out to the family. [But the owners] wanted so much. There’s a lot of interest to restore the building right now. It’s kind of a crime-ridden blight on the neighborhood.”
According to the Miami-Dade property records, the International Inn in North Beach is owned by Tsay International Inc., which is headed by Belsa Tsay. Tsay did not return phone calls from The Real Deal. Tsay International bought the International Inn for $3.1 million from Chen International in March 2001, Miami-Dade records show. Chen International had bought the hotel from International Inn Inc. for $1.1 million in 1988.
Once the preliminary report is prepared, the historic preservation board can recommend the Inn’s historic designation to the Miami Beach City Commission. During this process, a moratorium on any demolition work will be in place unless the City Commission opts to kill the process, Tackett said.