The Real Deal Miami

Miami Beach preservation board greenlights demolition of Lincoln Road building

Board members opted for a 1938 version of the facade after a vote for the 1924 version failed

Renderings of the building at 947 Lincoln Road and 1657 Michigan Avenue

UPDATED Oct. 11, 6 p.m.: A plan to redevelop a Lincoln Road property with a 1920s facade can move forward following a favorable vote by the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board.

Real estate investor Leon Zwick’s 947 Lincoln Road Investments won 6-1 approval Tuesday for a “near total demolition” of the existing two-story retail building at 947 Lincoln Road and 1657 Michigan Avenue in Miami Beach. 

Originally built in 1924 as Mediterranean Revival-style structure, the 7,500-square-foot property is at the corner of Lincoln Road and Michigan Avenue. In 1938, architect L. Murray Dixon revamped the facade using a Streamline Moderne style design. The property was again renovated in 1956.

Zwick retained Zyscovich Architects to renovate and restore the original Michigan Avenue facade and design a new modern building made primarily of glass behind it. The new structure, totaling 13,871 square feet and measuring 36 feet tall, would face the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall.

Michael Larkin, an attorney for 947 Lincoln Road Investments, said the Zyscovich team revised the design after concerns were raised by historic preservation board members during a previous hearing in June. He said city staff tracked down old photos of the building’s original 1924 design and provided them to the architects.

“These photos permit us to recreate the original facade with historic integrity,” Larkin said. “To completely and accurately restore it, we will have to seek a revocable permit or easement for it.”

Larkin noted that the city has previously granted easements into the public right-of-way to other properties along the popular retail strip, including 1111 Lincoln Road.

Suria Yaffar, partner and design director at Zyscovich Architects, said her team is confident the city commission would grant the easement based on the previous approvals given to other property owners. “There is already a case that we can present to the city commission that would allow us to reconstruct the corner and bring the building back to its essence,” Yaffar said.

The preservation board ultimately approved the 1938 facade after a vote for the 1924 version did not get five majority votes. That means Zwick does not need an additional approval from the city commission.

However, board member Nancy Liebman, the lone no vote, said the owner had not done enough to preserve the existing building. “This is a new building dressed up to look like the first floor is historic,” Liebman said. “That is why I can’t get excited about it. You are not preserving the [existing] building.”