Miami Beach Renews Call for Receiver for historic Deauville Hotel

North Shore

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach Renews Call for Receiver for historic Deauville Hotel:

New complaints of trespassers prompt action

The City of Miami Beach has renewed its motion for the appointment of a receiver for the shuttered Deauville Beach Resort and for a temporary injunction to force the hotel’s owners to protect the historic property. Following reports of squatters at the property breaking windows and throwing things from balconies, the City has added a request for sanctions and to force compliance with previous court orders to provide security to keep trespassers from further damaging the property and endangering the public and the City’s first responders.
The first request for a receiver was in an emergency motion filed with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Miami-Dade County in February in which the City accused the hotel’s owners of “demolition by neglect” after they failed to make necessary repairs following an electrical fire in July 2017. The hotel, at 6701 Collins Avenue, sustained further damage from Hurricane Irma a few months later. The hotel has remained closed since the fire.

By “intentionally neglecting to maintain the property in accordance with the City Code and Florida law,” the City says the owners’ actions “will eventually lead to the deterioration beyond repair of the historic structure.”
After two minor fires in March caused by trespassers, the City and the Deauville’s owners agreed to three security guards on-site, installation of a fence to further secure the property, and three points of ingress and egress with keys for the City’s Police and Fire Departments.
The new filing states, “The Deauville’s ongoing failures in securing the Property and otherwise undertaking the required repairs and maintenance on the Property invites an imminent danger to the health and safety of the citizens residing in and visiting Miami Beach, City staff, and first responders.”
In addition to the March fires, members of the Miami Beach Police and Fire Departments “have identified numerous incidents involving trespassers and the public gaining access to the structure due to Deauville’s failure to secure the property,” according to the new filing.

A trespasser on a balcony at the Deauville Beach Resort. Photo by Lisiane Freitas Wagner

After receiving complaints about homeless activity in the building, MBPD Officer Julio Blanco checked on the property on August 7 but was denied access to the interior of the building by a representative of the owner. Blanco then conducted a perimeter check “that revealed numerous deficiencies relating to the security of the building, including broken fences allowing easy access to the Property and litter scattered around the property, including several alcoholic drink containers indicating the presence of trespassers. The exterior inspection also demonstrated the Deauville’s failure to provide adequate security to the Property in accordance with the Agreed Order,” the filing states.
On another site check on August 9, 2019, there was no indication of security guards onsite.
“The appointment of a receiver is appropriate to prevent fraud, self-dealing, or the destruction of property,” according to the City’s motion.
Failure to comply with City Code and the order of the Unsafe Structures Board to undertake repairs “is resulting in the ongoing deterioration of the structure, indicating clear waste of the historic structure,” the filing states. “The City has a clear interest in maintaining its inventory of historic structures, including the Deauville Beach Resort… [A]s noted in City Code ‘The preservation and conservation of properties of historical, architectural and archaeological merit in the [C]ity is a public policy of the [C]ity and is in the interest of the [C]ity’s future prosperity.’”
“The Deauville Beach Resort remains closed with no opening in sight as a result of the Deauville’s mismanagement of the property and disregard for the historic structure,” the City states. “Moreover, the appointment of a receiver is needed to avoid the self-dealing of the Deauville and breakdown of trust and communication between the City and Deauville.”
Because of the owners’ “ongoing failures to adequately secure the Property, despite Court Order… and otherwise undertaking the required repairs and maintenance on the Property invites an imminent danger to the health and safety” of residents, visitors, and first responders.
The City renewed its request for a receiver to manage the property including ongoing security, rectify outstanding violations, and collect and remit all outstanding taxes and fines. At the same time, the City is seeking injunctions to force the owners to “adequately secure the Property and undertake required maintenance and repairs” as well as sanctions for failure to comply with the previous court orders to secure the Property and an order requiring the Deauville to comply with the previous court orders to secure the property.
In his affidavit, Officer Blanco said, “The failure to provide adequate security at the Deauville creates a dangerous environment for citizens and first responders. A previous security check of the interior of the Deauville required approximately 25 officers, 4 k-9s, and over 4.5 hours to conduct a room-by-room search of interior of the Deauville in dangeorus conditions without light or adequate safety precautions.”
The 538-room oceanfront hotel is considered a “contributing” structure located within the North Beach Resort Local Historic District.  It was designed by architect Melvin Grossman and constructed in 1957. The hotel is noted for hosting the Beatles performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964.
“The Deauville has demonstrated that it has no intention of voluntarily undertaking the repairs necessary to bring the Property into compliance with the City Code,” the filing reiterates. “Deauville is hedging its bets that the City will eventually allow the demolition of the structure.” 
City Code requires buildings located within local historic districts be properly maintained according to minimum standards as defined in the code. Demolition by neglect is defined by any failure to comply with those minimum standards “whether deliberately or inadvertently,” according to the original filing.

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