Oct 10, 2023 - News

Art Deco hotel owners clash over plan for Sagamore Hotel on Lincoln Road

A rendering of improvements along Lincoln Road. Courtesy of The Sagamore

Owners of the Ritz-Carlton and Sagamore hotels in Miami Beach plan to upgrade the east end of Lincoln Road — so long as they are also allowed to build a new 15-story residential tower on the Sagamore property.

Why it matters: Miami Beach's Historic Preservation Board is slated to vote Tuesday on elements of the plan, which is pitting some owners of the area's iconic art deco hotels against one another.

Context: The Ritz-Carlton is situated where Lincoln Road, the famed pedestrian street, meets the beach.

  • North on the same block are the Sagamore, the National and Delano hotels — all part of the Ocean Drive/Collins Avenue Historic Preservation District.
  • Proposed construction is subject to review by the Historic Preservation Board, which must issue a certificate of appropriateness before a building permit can be issued.

Details: In June, Miami Beach commissioners voted to work with the Ritz/Sagamore owners on a public-private partnership that would make $12 million of improvements to the 100 through 300 blocks of Lincoln Road, Miami Today reported.

  • The pedestrian-friendly plan would widen access to the beach, add landscaping and public art, and make other tweaks.

Between the lines: Peter Kanavos, one of the Sagamore/Ritz owners, tells Axios the east end of Lincoln Road has been plagued by drugs, crime and homelessness. "It's like a bad piece of Times Square is interjected into what should be a vital commercial pedestrian mall."

  • Adding the tower at the Sagamore would bring more residents to the area, which has become overly skewed toward tourism, he says.
  • But if the tower is not approved by the board Tuesday, his group will likely withdraw its offer regarding the Lincoln Road improvements, he says.

What they're saying: "[If] they say, 'OK, we'll approve you but we'll cut you down to like six stories instead' … well, we don't have an economic deal anymore," Kanavos says, since profits from developing the tower would help fund the improvements.

  • He says owners of the National and the Delano don't agree with the plan, but 130 other local stakeholders support it.

The other side: Critics fear the 15-story tower would be out of character and cause shadows that affect neighboring properties.

  • "As responsible owners, we assumed the compromise while acquiring historic buildings in a historic district to respect, protect and embrace the dignity and morale of these buildings and their surroundings," Delphine Dray, owner of The National, tells Axios.
  • "The reason that people come to Miami Beach is for its uniqueness, that sense of place," Steven Avdakov, a historic preservation consultant retained by the National, tells Axios. "It gets chipped away at, and ultimately, there's not much difference between Orlando and Miami Beach or Vegas."

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