Sherry Frontenac to Get New Pool Deck

North Shore

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Sherry Frontenac to Get New Pool Deck:

Modernization will help historic hotel remain competitive

The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board this week gave the go ahead for a new amenity deck and parking at the Sherry Frontenac Hotel. The current pool area in the rear of the Henry Hohauser designed building has remained virtually the same since it was built in 1947. Changing habits and needs of hotel guests mean the hotel has to change too in order to remain competitive.
 
The current property owners, the Sussman Family, have owned the Post War Modern style building at 6565 Collins Avenue for nearly four decades according to attorney Monika Entin. The proposal to modernize the rear deck includes demolition of the existing one- and two-story cabanas.
 
City Design and Preservation Manager Debbie Tackett told the Board that since the hotel was built, “The entire oceanfront area has been transformed, most notably the beach has been extended.” When the cabanas were built, she said, the pool area was right on the ocean and were never meant to be viewed by the public. As a result, “They were not constructed with the same attention to detail as others … There was very little architectural detailing for these cabana structures.”
 
“It’s important to note,” Tackett added, “that the lifestyle and the user has really changed.” In the 1950s, very little landscaping was used around pools. “Typically, you know, people came down from the north to get as much sun as possible so you have just almost sheer paving throughout these 1950s mid-century pool decks.”
 
“Now the city is pushing more resilient initiatives,” she said. “The visitor who comes down here is more concerned about the damage that the sun can have to them so increasing shade canopy, increasing shade structures, is really kind of a change in lifestyle and something that we recognize as maybe even an improvement upon what was done in that mid-century period for these areas.”
 
“It’s a different world than it was when the Sussman’s first bought the property,” attorney Entin said. In addition to the issues Tackett mentioned, she said the current pool deck contains several levels which creates an accessibility issue that will be corrected with the new design.
 
“One of the other things we can’t compete with our neighbors [on] is having no parking in this area.”
 
“We do have an existing contributing structure,” Entin said. “We’re doing absolutely everything we can to preserve and make it a functional and competitive structure. And every other hotel in the neighborhood, everybody else has new pool decks, new amenities that are accessible to the public and accessible and more practical to guests that come in.”
 
“This building which has been owned by the same owners for over 40 years is dated and stagnant,” she continued. "What they’re asking for is to remain on the existing setback of the existing cabanas, not to expand but rather to improve the conditions that are there, by adding more landscaping and a canopy structure that is not as enclosed.”
 
Board member Nancy Liebman said, “I have to applaud the people who have continued to own the building for that … many years. It really is something I think we should consider. They’re not just coming in here, big company trying to make some glitz out of the hotel. They are restoring it back to what it was and it is one magnificent hotel and they’ve never let it go down the way some of the rest of them on the street … I think that they should be recognized for what they’re doing and I have no problem with the design.”
 
After discussion and agreement to move the outdoor bar and shade structure back ten feet, the Board unanimously approved the plans.
 
Renderings: Beilinson Gomez Architects
 

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