The Real Deal: Moxy hotel project on Washington Avenue gets nod from preservation board

Kobi Karp-designed seven-story, 202-room hotel that will target millennials

December 20, 2016

By James Teeple

Rendering of the Moxy South Beach

The second new large-scale development on Washington Avenue this year got a strong endorsement from the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board.

The board’s approval last week will allow the demolition, renovation and restoration of three aging storefronts located at 915, 947 and 955 Washington Avenue to make way for a new Moxy South Beach.

David Lichtenstein’s Lightstone Group, which paid $29 million for the structures, which take up nearly the whole block, plans to build the seven-story, 202-room boutique hotel on the block.

In May, The Real Deal reported the properties were sold by Crescent Heights developer Russell Galbut and longtime Washington Avenue landlord and businessman, Saul Gross, to Lightstone. For years, Gross had pushed city officials to pass an ordinance, which passed last year, raising height limits to 75 feet in some locations as well as eliminating parking requirements for hotels, and placing restrictions on where nightclubs can be located, in a bid to revitalize the street with new hotels and dining.

Galbut received approval from the city in March to build a seven-story hotel on the properties.

Board members expressed some concerns about preserving parapets and friezes on the original three structures, which were built in 1936 and 1942 and which make up a total of 31,265 square feet. But noting that “the existing retail does not serve the community,” the board agreed to move the project forward, saying the city’s planning staff and the project architect would work together to resolve any design issues.

Like other new hotel developments in the area, the Moxy project will target millennials with smaller rooms and extensive roof terracing. Outgoing Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board Chairman Dominique Bailleul said the majority of the project was ready for approval and was “part of the revitalization of the street, and a great step forward.”

In May, the historic preservation board approved a similar project between 601-685 Washington Avenue, which also takes up the entire east side of that block of the street. Imperial Companies plans to build a new hotel with ground floor retail on the site, which was assembled by local developer Andrew Joblon for $36 million in 2015.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the number of rooms the hotel will have. Lightstone will develop a 202-room hotel on the site, not a 63-room hotel.

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