UPDATED, Feb. 10, 9:50 a.m.: The developer of a planned Aman hotel and condo again secured approval from the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board, after reducing the project’s height and making other modifications.
Billionaires Vlad Doronin and Len Blavatnik want to build the first Aman-branded development in South Florida at 3425 Collins Avenue, on a site that includes the historic Versailles building. Doronin heads OKO Group and owns the Aman brand, and Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries, backed the development of the Faena District with Alan Faena, who is not involved in the Aman. Blavatnik and Doronin are equal partners in the project.
The developer still needs further Miami Beach approvals before it can seek building permits for the project, a proposed 56-key hotel and 23 luxury condos.
The historic preservation board on Tuesday approved the developer’s request to build a redesigned ground-level tower addition and make modifications to the site plan. Six board members voted in favor of the proposal, with board member Barry Klein voting against it.
The developer is now planning a 221-foot-tall building, down from the previously proposed 250 feet. Doronin plans to renovate and restore the existing 16-story Versailles, demolish the 1955 south addition, and build a new 16-story addition.
Doronin first sought approval for a height increase to 250 feet in July, a move that attracted significant opposition, including from the billionaire residents of the adjacent Faena House condo tower at 3315 Collins Avenue. But by January, the Faena House condo association’s board and other nearby groups had reversed their opposition and supported the developer’s reduced plans.
The latest plans garnered support on Tuesday from Faena House unit owners Thomas Stern and Paul Cejas, who previously opposed plans, as well as from Design District developer Craig Robins.
Though Doronin’s proposal secured six ‘yes’ votes from the historic preservation board, board chair Jack Finglass said he had “severe reservations” that the new condo tower offered improved visibility, and said a rendering was “very deceptive.”
“I just don’t see the tradeoff as being worthwhile a hundred years from now,” Finglass said, adding that attorneys and architects have “presented distorted views of their buildings” in the past to get boards to vote in favor of their plans. Architect Luis Revuelta countered that he does not believe he is misleading the public.
As part of the approvals, the developer will donate a Jack Stewart mural and pay to restore, relocate and install the mural. Restoration and renovation of the historic Versailles building would have to be substantially completed or fully completed before a temporary certificate of occupancy is issued.
On Jan. 12, the historic preservation board issued specific design approvals, including for the new eastern extension of the project. The following day, the Miami Beach City Commission referred the ordinance reducing the height to the planning board, which will review an amendment to the Faena District Overlay district on Feb. 23. The developer will also have to return to the historic preservation board at a later date for an additional approval.