Deauville Hotel Working to Get Back Up and Running

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Deauville Hotel Working to Get Back Up and Running:

Closed since a fire, it also suffered hurricane damage

Representatives of Miami Beach's Deauville Hotel say the owners are “working expeditiously” to move ahead with repairs on the historic building which has been closed since an electrical fire last summer. Concern has heightened about the hotel’s fate given the lack of activity there.
Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez placed a discussion item on this week’s Land Use and Development Committee agenda to understand the City’s options, including the “demolition by neglect process”.
The Historic Preservation Board has also expressed concern and will have its own discussion next week. The Deauville, at 6701 Collins Avenue, was designed by noted architect Melvin Grossman and constructed in 1957. It is classified as a contributing building within the North Beach Resort Local Historic District.

The Deauville is also known for hosting a 1964 live Beatles appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show”. It was the group’s second appearance, one week after their first, according to The Beatles Bible. The performance was seen live in the Deauville’s two-story ballroom by 2,600 and watched by 70 million on TV.
Rosen Gonzalez has particularly worried about the local businesses in the area which have suffered since the hotel’s closing. “The area is dark. The commercial zone is suffering and we have a big gaping hole,” she said. “My biggest worry about the Deauville is it gets to a state where it becomes beyond repair.”
Even though it’s on the HPB’s radar, Rosen Gonzalez said she believes it also belongs with the Land Use Committee. “This is more than just historic. It’s an economic issue, employment, tourism,” she said. “There’s so many reasons why it’s important to that entire neighborhood.”
Committee Chair, Commissioner John Alemán, noted, “It is interesting… to see how much of an impact having this hotel’s lights out has affected all of the little businesses around there and I think the reflection of that is what an uplift we can get” when the hotel by developer Silvia Coltrane is built a few blocks away. “What an uplift economically it’s going to mean to North Beach,” she added. “We can see the reflection in the mirror of the absence of having them so I’m looking forward to some of those good news projects.”
Miami Beach property investor Matis Cohen confirmed the issues for the small businesses in the area with the Deauville closed. “It has had an impact on the rental market, on the commercial market, in North Beach. It is our only hotel in the area.”
Melissa Meruelo addressed the Committee on behalf of the hotel’s ownership. “We’re here to cooperate and work together and make clear our incentives are aligned and we do want to reopen as soon as possible,” she said.
“What happened Melissa? The whole area is dying without your being open,” Rosen Gonzalez asked. “We’re worried. You have one of the most storied beautiful properties on Miami Beach and we want to make sure that it’s not demolished.”
Meruelo said the lack of electricity from the fire left the hotel even more vulnerable to Hurricane Irma. “We had damage from the hurricane as well during a time when we didn’t have power so we didn’t have the drains working. We flooded.” The owners are now deaing with “a lot of moving parts, carriers and insurance and a lot of things that we are trying to get worked out so we’re moving as fast as possible,” she said.
Given the life safety issues, work has not been able to commence on the property. Miami Beach building official Ana Salgueiro told the Committee she has been in constant contact with the owners working through the various permitting issues which were complicated by fire safety issues.
It appears permits are imminent and work can begin shortly. “Finally, I think we have a train that’s leaving the station and I hope to keep it moving in a direction,” Salgueiro said.
In addition to the repair issues, the building is undergoing one of its regular certification processes and rather than issue the normal 6-month permit, Salgueiro is extending the permit in shorter periods “because I want to see there is work happening on the property,” she said.

The Committee asked for a status report at its May meeting. 
Rosen Gonzalez told Meruelo, “We want the Deauville to know that the Administration wants to help you get back up and running as quickly as possible. If you run into administrative issues, feel free to copy us or the city manager and we will help however we can.”

Photo: City of Miami Beach

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