Investigator recommends demolishing historic Florida beach resort

Inspectors are recommending a historic Florida beach resort be demolished after more than 65 years by the sea.

Officials with the city of Miami Beach says they've done their own inspection into the Deauville Beach Resort and their experts agree the building should be demolished.

The ruling agrees with a report put out by a structural engineer hired by the building’s owner to demolish the landmark.

That report says the landmark is unsafe and cannot be saved due to structural defects.

However, Miami Beach’s city commission met Thursday and all of the commissioners say they want the building kept up.

The Deauville, built in 1957, was once an attraction to the famous; The Beatles did one of their first American performances inside the resort's Napoleon Ballroom in 1964.

The property's unique architectural style became a South Florida cultural landmark.

Miami Beach Deputy City Manager Eric Carpenter told Local 10 News "very much a sad day for the city of Miami Beach and the historic preservation community in all of South Florida."

Preservationists don’t believe this is a done deal and remain hopeful the building can be saved.

Daniel Ciraldo, with the Miami Design Preservation League, said "there may be a case here of demolition by neglect. Meaning that these owners may be purposely letting this building decline so they can demolish it and potentially replace it with a high-rise. That is not what Miami Beach is about. We’re about preserving our history, and so we want to make sure that all the right steps are taken to protect this landmark building.”

City leaders also blame the property owner for its demise.

They hope a judge and the property owner will allow them inside to do a further report, but the owner has not been cooperative so far.

In a letter to the commission and Mayor Dan Gelber, City Manager Alina Hudak says the city is out of options afters years of enforcement action and litigation with the property, writing "after years of enforcement action and litigation, including over $1.7M in fines, the owner has finally provided the required Structural Condition Assessment Report. Unfortunately, that report makes clear that the building is unsafe and cannot be saved due to structural defects.”

Preservationists say the property was purchased for $4 million in 2004, but they believe the land alone is now valued at $100 million.

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