Historic preservation Board Hears Explanation for Sun King #2 Collapse

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Historic preservation Board Hears Explanation for Sun King #2 Collapse:

Board satisfied with restoration details, approves parking credits

We now know what caused the Sun King #2 to collapse. The building was supposed to be retained as part of the development of the Collins Park Hotel, a large undertaking that involves the renovation and restoration of seven contributing buildings in Miami Beach's Collins Park neighborhood. In December, the owners asked the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) for after-the-fact approval of complete demolition of the Sun King #2 which collapsed during construction and the removal of significant features of several other buildings.

The Board okayed the demolition but held back its approval for the owners to retain the previously existing parking credits on the site (allowing for a reduction in the amount of required parking) until they had more detailed plans on how the Sun King would be replaced and the detail for reconstruction of the public interior spaces within the Collins Park Hotel (from which the development takes its name), the Adams Hotel and the Tyler Apartment Hotel buildings. 
The HPB also asked for a further explanation of what caused the Sun King to collapse. Yair Daiksel of The Rinaldi Group of Florida, the general contractor for the project, said the firm began working on-site in 2016. He described a large, deep basement – about 24,000 sq ft and 23 feet deep – which will be used for parking and for back of house operations. 
“It’s a very complex project in that way,” Daiksel said. “In order to dig this large basement, we had to drive a complete belt, a ring of sheet piles that went down somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 to 50 feet. Very large, knocking them with those big hammers.”
Due to severe neglect and deterioration, most of the structures were gutted and their facades had been propped up per instructions of a structural engineer, Daiksel said. 
“The only building that was not planned on being supported and was supposed to be left intact was the Sun King #2,” he told the Board. “We drove those piles one by one and in the process of doing that we had severe damage… what seemed to us severe damage to the Sun King which started deteriorating and crumbling.”
Daiksel said he was sitting in his office on the site when he was hit in the head with a piece of concrete… That started raising all those red lights with regard to safety of this building. We moved out from that building into a temporary trailer.” 


At the December meeting, Miami Beach Design and Preservation Manager Debbie Tackett noted “Construction has been slow” on the project, but that it has speeded up in the past year. “Staff is very hopeful this project will be completed in the near future.” 
Daiksel confirmed progress is being made, saying he hoped the shell of the building with the exception of the Sun King will be finished “somewhere at the end of April of this year” with the Sun King shell being finished by summer.
Board member Kirk Paskal appreciated the explanation of what happened but added, “The part that still sticks with me is the demolition without even a permit and that component worries me very much, not only in terms of the integrity of buildings but public safety.”
That said, he was pleased with the details of the interior restoration and said, “When reconstruction of historic details is done well, it’s just miraculous to me.”
“I’m really, really hoping that this is going to be just a shining example of what we can do when we need to to recreate historic buildings with historic details,” he added.

Rendering of completed Collins Park Hotel

The Board approved the interior restoration details and the parking credits.  
The development is bounded by Park Avenue, 20 and 21 Streets, and Washington Avenue. The properties are controlled by LLCs owned by brothers Juda, Meyer, and Joseph Chetrit.

Rendering of Collins Park Hotel, Kobi Karp
Photos of Sun King #2, City of Miami Beach

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