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Historical Advocates Concerned About 17-Story Residential Tower Proposal In Art Deco District

Miami Beach (CBSMiami) - The Miami Beach skyline could look a little different under a new proposal to add on to the Ritz Sagamore footprint.

"So why are we going to change the DNA of our city and our historic district?" asked Yaser Mohamad, National Hotel General Manager.

That's the question Mohamad has for his nextdoor neighbors, the Ritz Carlton and Sagamore Hotels.

"And a glass tower would definitely clash against what we have been fighting for so many the historic preservation of the art deco district," he said.

The designs provided as part of the application to add on a 200 feet 17 story luxury residential tower is on a shared footprint, the design itself is more contemporary in contrast to surrounding buildings.

"If we're going to continue high rises along the beach what makes us different high rise cities all over" asked Daniel Ciraldo, Miami Design Preservation League Executive Director.

The league is a non-profit, it runs the Art Deco Welcome Center, and advocates for preserving the area's history.

"We think the view from the beach is just as or more important than the street. So we think this tower although it's pushed back will really loom over the beach and could have an impact for our visitors and residences," he said.

Ciraldo wants to work with the owners for potentially a smaller upgrade, but the league thinks the current proposal is too big in scale to fit in.

"This building is going to be demolished," Mohamad showed CBS 4 of the 90s additions to the Sagamore Hotel that would be torn down under the proposal.

There's also a question of how heavy machinery and demolition of certain areas will impact an area that's so close to the beach and guests.

The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board is expected to review the application Monday.


On Saturday morning the owners of the Ritz-Carlton/Sagamore Project released the following statement:

"This project will add residents to Miami Beach and is aligned with protecting and enhancing local citizens' quality of life. We have proudly developed the plan with guidance and support from local historians and officials."

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