A compromise has been reached that will allow renovations and, ultimately, the reopening of the Starlight Roof at the Miami Beach Resort at 4833 Collins Avenue. In April, the Historic Preservation Board objected to the initial plans, which included reducing the lounge's size by half and removing the different floor levels within the room. While the owner had wanted to restore the Starlight Roof in its entirety, new fire code regulations dictated a reduction in its capacity to ensure evacuation in the event of emergency.
The plans approved by the HPB this week include a redesigned room that maintains the semicircular sunken floor and stage area. The occupancy calculation based on the new design is now 278. The previous occupancy limit was 536. While still a smaller lounge area, the Board was satisfied with the plans to keep the original character intact.
Attorney Monika Entin told the Board, “We tried to figure out how to best retain the majority of this room while bringing down the occupancy to a level that was safe and accessible to all.” She said she believed the revised plans reflect “a much better product” than what was presented in April. “While it looks like it’s 100%, we retained about 80% of the floor. We still have the dual levels. We have the geometry of the room but what we’ve done is shifted areas throughout, built static items so that we lower our occupancy.” And, of course, returning are the iconic sparkly lights on the ceiling.
Two of the Board members who were vehemently opposed to changes in the room expressed their gratitude for the effort put in by the owner, architect, and City staff to come up with the new design. “Thank you to all of you,” said Nancy Liebman, “because this would have been a real smack in the face to the historic community.” Jack Finglass added,”Thank you for doing the best that could be done.”
Image: Postcard of Starlight Roof Supper Club circa 1960s, City of Miami Beach HPB file
happy ending for starlight roof:
renovation plans approved
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