tree of life may have short life span

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

tree of life may have short life span:

HPB to consider request to let scuplture stay

Historic Preservation Board Preview
Tuesday, February 14, 9:00 am
City Hall, Commission Chambers

There's a packed agenda at next week's HPB meeting including: 

That Tree of Life at the Faena Forum? It may have a short life span.
Leonard Blavatnik, Alan Faena’s business partner, wants to keep the Tree of Life sculpture that was installed in front of the Faena Forum for Art Basel 2016. The 20-foot high sculpture facing Collins Avenue was created by Studio Job, an internationally recognized design house.
 
3420 Collins Avenue, LLC which owns the Faena Forum and is 100% owned by Blavatnik, is seeking an after-the-fact Certificate of Appropriateness for the sculpture and a variance to reduce the minimum required front setback. The sculpture currently sits on a concrete foundation with a 6’3” setback from the property line along Collins Avenue where the required setback is 20’. The application claims a hardship in moving the sculpture stating the Forum’s subterranean parking garage and its roof construction prohibit placing the cement slab 20’ back from the property line and that the unique shape of the property makes relocation within the site impossible.
 
In its report to HPB members for consideration, City Planning Department staff has no objection to the sculpture and believes it “will not detract from the surrounding historic district”, however they recommend it be relocated to comply with minimum yard setback requirements. They say the height exceeds the maximum allowed for structures in required yards and they disagree with the claim of hardship for allowing the artwork to stay. “The size, height, location and construction of the sculpture was the applicant's choice,” the staff report says.
 
Staff writes there are several properties with large frontage on Collins Avenue within the Faena Overlay District and they suggest finding an alternate location that would not require a variance. According to the report, “The granting of this variance would confer to the applicant a benefit that is denied to other properties within the Historic District with the placement of a large sculpture within a required front yard.”
 
Full application here.

Moxy Hotel
Planned for the 900 block of Washington Avenue, this project has been approved by the Planning Board and is seeking HPB approval for “substantial demolition, renovation, and restoration of existing structures, and construction of a new 7-story ground level addition for a hotel.” The HPB largely approved the project with requested changes in December.

Property includes 915, 947, 955 Washington Ave, all “contributing structures”  built between 1936 and 1942.
Full application here.

1601 Drexel Ave: Time Out Market
The property, while not historic, is located within the Flamingo Park Local Historic District, one block off Lincoln Road. Its owners are seeking a Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition and design to bring Time Out Market (TOM) into the first floor space. The application describes TOM as a “unique food, shopping and cultural experience” giving local chefs designated spaces where they can try new concepts. Local artists will also be featured as part of a larger cultural experience. The owners want approval to install  “operable windows” that will open to connect the “neighborhood and the cultural experience occurring within the facility.”
 
Full application here.
 
1434 Washington Ave: Clay Hotel
The owners of the historic Clay Hotel, originally constructed in 1925 and within the Espanola Way Historic District, want to renovate and remodel the building “to recreate the feel of a true Spanish village”. In the process, they plan to return to the original name, The Espanola Hotel.
 
Plans call for renovations to the lobby, creating courtyards for guests, refinishing and painting the buildings and the use of awnings and ironwork. On the interior, renovations include covering existing open corridors with “landscaped trellis materials” to deflect some of the heat. There would also be a rooftop deck with bar, lounge seating, and spa pool for guests.
 
Application and variances requested.

Related: 1436 Drexel Ave, the Matanzas Hotel renovation which is part of the Clay Hotel and just West of the main building.

The Setai at 2001 Collins Ave is seeking to reintroduce retail entrances along Collins Ave.

Details here.

Image: 3420 Collins Avenue, LLC