Historic Preservation Board upset over construction error

By Roger Lohse, Reporter, rlohse@Local10.com
Published On: Jul 10 2013 06:48:10 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 11 2013 10:45:21 AM EDT

A construction contractor is in hot water with the city's Historic Preservation Board for knocking down a section of concrete wall from an old building.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -

A construction contractor is in hot water with the city's Historic Preservation Board for knocking down a section of concrete wall from an old building. It happened at 1001 Lincoln Road on the site of what will soon be a new Gap store.

The board wanted the contractor to save a flat section of concrete, roughly 50 feet wide and 10 feet high, from the 1930's era building that was previously on the site.

"I'm very angry, and very, very disillusioned with this applicant," said Herb Sosa, chairman of Miami Beach Historic Preservation board at Tuesday's meeting. The board instructed the contractor to incorporate the old wall into the design of the new building.

"They believed it was appropriate to save a portion of the original fabric of the building," said William Cary, the city's assistant director of planning. He told Local 10's Roger Lohse that the old wall had to come down last week because it started to lean away from the metal braces that were holding it in place.

"The following day was the Fourth of July, we would have thousands of people going up and down Lincoln Road," Cary said.

Tuesday's meeting of the Historic Preservation Board turned into an inquisition as members questioned the contractor, accused the architect and demanded an investigation.

"We want to know why our direction wasn't followed," Sosa said.

They made it clear that the wall was important to them, but what's unclear is why they were going to allow the contractor to then cover it with new limestone.

"If that wall had been retained, you wouldn't have been able to see the original concrete anyway?" asked Lohse. "That's correct, yes," Cary said.

Sosa declined to comment publicly on the issue Wednesday, but the planning department has launched an investigation with orders to report back to the historic preservation board at its meeting next month.

"The Historic Preservation Board makes its decision based upon what is appropriate. That is their decision alone ultimately", said Cary, who also pointed out that when the new Gap store is complete, the building will look exactly the same as it would have if the contractor has been able to preserve the old wall.

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