Paul Cejas scores approval for partial demo at Washington Avenue project

10-story building will have apartments and ground-floor retail space

May.May 09, 2018 11:30 AM

Renderings of 1600 Washington Avenue and Paul Cejas

A company controlled by former U.S. ambassador Paul Cejas and his wife Gertie reached a compromise with a Miami Beach board to move forward with a mixed-use project on a prime slice of Washington Avenue near Lincoln Road.

By a 5 to 1 vote, the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board approved an application submitted by 420 Lincoln Road Development LLC to save a portion of a two-story apartment building designed by famed local architect Henry Hohauser and incorporate the structure into the new development.

The Cejas company plans to build a 10-story, 180,900-square-foot building with 111,000 square feet of apartment space and 12,900 square feet of ground floor retail.

Initially, 420 Lincoln proposed the entire demolition of the Hohauser building, which is located at 425 16th Street, and a neighboring 15,430-square-foot retail building at 1600 Washington Avenue. Both properties have been owned by the couple’s company since 1990. But in January, the board delayed its vote after instructing 420 Lincoln’s lobbyists and architects to save the 1938 Hohauser structure, which is designated by the city as a building that contributes to the neighborhood’s historic district.

The 1600 Washington Avenue property will be completely demolished.

The new design also won the support of Daniel Ciraldo, executive director of the Miami Design Preservation League, who urged board members to approve the application.

But not everyone was satisfied with the developer’s revised design.

“I love your [new] building, but I love the Hohauser building more,” board member Jack Finglass, the lone no vote, said. “Saving 15 percent of something, you might as well tear it down. In my view, it is not historic preservation. I find it shameful a majority of this board are willing to go along.”

The proposal now heads to the city’s planning board later this month.

Cejas also owns the nearby mixed-use parking garage at 1601 Drexel Avenue, where Time Out Market will open.

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