Sep 8, 2023 - Development

Owner plans to replace Clevelander Hotel with residential building

A rendering shows a man in a suit standing in front of a white building

A rendering of the building planned for the Clevelander site. Image: Courtesy of Jesta Group

The owner of Miami Beach's landmark Clevelander Hotel and Bar and adjoining Essex House hotel wants to replace them with a residential project.

What's happening: Canada-based Jesta Group plans to redevelop the properties, with 40% of units reserved for affordable housing rentals, it announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The project takes advantage of the Live Local Act, a state law that went into effect in July. It permits an affordable housing project to be as tall as the highest building allowed within one mile, which will enable the new building to be about 30 stories, per the announcement.

  • Units must stay affordably priced for 30 years.
  • The law provides tax breaks for property owners.

Between the lines: Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber has long blamed nightlife establishments on Ocean Drive, such as the Clevelander, for noise and crime. He has sought to enact curfews and bans of alcohol sales.

  • The Clevelander once sued the city over an alcohol ban and said in its redevelopment announcement Thursday, "Notably, this change is occurring because of economic incentives and cooperation, rather than punitive legislation."

What they're saying: A spokesperson for the Clevelander, attorney Alexander Tachmes, said in the statement that workers have struggled to afford housing nearby, making it hard to staff the bar and hotel.

Details: The owners say that the new project will preserve the Art Deco facades of the current buildings and have hotel services and a high-end restaurant on its ground floor.

What we're watching: Architectural plans will be submitted to the city for approval in the coming days.

  • However, the Live Local Act curbs the power of local governments and requires them to authorize multifamily developments if at least 40% of the units are affordable.

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