May 3, 2023 - News

Protesters say bill threatens historic buildings in Miami Beach

Protesters rally in South Beach against a bill that would make it easier for property owners to demolish historic buildings.

Miami Beach City Commissioner Alex Fernandez (middle) joins a protest to protect historic buildings. Photo: Courtesy of MDPL

With a row of colorful Art Deco hotels as their backdrop, preservationists gathered in South Beach on Tuesday to protest a bill they fear may lead to the demolition of the area's historic oceanside hotels.

Why it matters: The Art Deco Historic District — listed in the National Register of Historic Places — is the postcard for Miami's tourist economy. Its preservation is credited with spearheading the city's revitalization since the 1980s.

Driving the news: Organized by the Miami Design Preservation League, the protest was its final push to try and kill House Bill 1317.

  • The bill would allow property owners to demolish historic buildings located in coastal flood zones if they don't meet FEMA standards for new construction.
  • It would also preempt local historic preservation laws that require replacement buildings to be constructed under a certain height or follow the original design of the building.

Between the lines: Protesters gathered Tuesday on Ocean Drive at the bust of preservationist Barbara Baer-Capitman, who founded the MDPL and is credited with saving the Art Deco district.

What they're saying: "Residents are sending a loud message to Tallahassee: "Hands off our history!" MDPL executive director Daniel Ciraldo tells Axios.

What we're watching: The legislative session ends Friday and the House bill has yet to get a vote.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Miami.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Miami stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Miami.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more