Miami Beach board backs Bulgari hotel plans to redevelop Seagull with height increase and ground-floor expansion
Despite objections from The Setai Miami Beach, planning board members recommended approval of zoning changes
Bulgari’s plan to redevelop the Seagull Hotel Miami Beach is advancing, with aims to include adding two floors to the seven-story building, as well as expanding the ground floor.
The Miami Beach Planning Board on Tuesday voted to recommend the city commission approve amendments to land use regulations that will allow the height increase and the ground-floor expansion, as well as vacating a right-of-way along the front of the oceanfront property at 100 21st Street.
However, representatives of the Setai Miami Beach and its adjoining historic Art Deco building, the Dempsey-Vanderbilt Hotel, are aiming to spoil Bulgari’s efforts.
In December, Bulgari announced it would transform the Seagull into its first hotel in the U.S., with Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel overseeing the restoration. The building was completed in 1950, and its design is a mix of Art Deco and Miami Modern, or MiMo, architecture styles.
The new hotel, slated to open in 2024, will have an outdoor pool, spa and fitness facilities, and a restaurant and bar from Chef Niko Romito. The fashion jewelry house is teaming up with Seagull Miami Beach owner, London-based Blue Horizon Group, which bought the shuttered hotel for $120 million in January of last year. Bulgari currently operates 10 hotels globally, including in Milan, London and Dubai.
According to a presentation by Bulgari lawyers Michael Larkin and Carter McDowell, Bulgari plans to make rooms in the 178-key hotel larger by removing more than 40 rooms; add about 13,472 square feet for the ground-floor addition; and go up in height to nine stories.
In exchange for vacating the right-of-way, Bulgari will pay the city $7.4 million, as well as pay an unspecified amount for improvements to the city’s beachwalk. The company will also provide Miami Beach with continued access to the right-of-way.
“Bulgari will completely gut and renovate the Seagull Hotel,” McDowell said. “We are asking for minor changes to keep the design and the scale of the existing building.”
Planning board members were largely unanimous in praising Bulgari’s entry into the Miami Beach hotel market. The city commission will vote on the land use amendments for the project in May.
“This is exactly the type of high-end project we are trying to bring here,” said board member Mark Meland. “The developers are going to need that extra bit for it to work for them.”
Still, Kent Harrison Robbins and Bradley Gould, attorneys for the Setai Miami Beach, unsuccessfully tried to convince board members to delay their vote by claiming the proposed additions would block the view corridor for some rooms at the Dempsey Vanderbilt. The Setai, except for its condo-hotel units, is owned by the Nakash family and Alexander von Furstenberg.
“We are concerned our established view corridors are being taken away,” Robbins said. “As long as this addition is being put into this project, we will continue to object.”