UPDATED, Oct. 16, 3:15 p.m.: Miami Beach commissioners approved a zoning change that would allow billionaire developer Vlad Doronin and investor Len Blavatnik to build their Aman-branded tower.
Commissioners Steven Meiner and Micky Steinberg voted against the Faena district overlay ordinance on second reading, which will allow the developers to build a 250-foot tall tower, up from the previously allowed 203 feet.
Doronin and Blavatnik are partnering on the Versailles site at 3425 Collins Avenue, which is next to the 203-foot Faena House.
As proposed, the development calls for a 56-key hotel and 23 luxury condos, and it would mark the first Aman in South Florida. Doronin, CEO of OKO Group, is also owner and chairman of Aman Resorts.
Despite strong opposition from Miami Beach residents, including billionaire residents of Faena House, the commission voted 5 to 2 to pass the ordinance on second reading. Next, the developers would submit plans for the building to the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board for approval. The board discussed the project at Tuesday’s meeting, and voted unanimously to recommend that the commission oppose it.
Thomas Stern, a unit owner at Faena House, said on Wednesday that the association believes “it will set a terrible precedent for Miami Beach.”
Miami Beach preservationist Nancy Liebman also spoke in opposition to the project. “It’s like the city is hungry for high-rises because they think it’s going to save their economy,” she said.
Those who spoke in favor included Douglas Elliman agent Mick Duchon and Fortune International Realty agent Liliana Pinto-Torres.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber called the ordinance “a very modest zoning change,” and commissioners pointed to the fact that the plans would still have to go before the historic preservation board for approval.
After the meeting, a spokesperson for the developers said the project is expected to “elevate the city as a world class destination.”
The original developers, Blavatnik and partner Alan Faena, planned a 203-foot tall luxury condo on the property, in addition to restoring the Versailles building. Plans for that project were canceled when the condo market began to slow down in 2016.