Deco Hotel Turned Lux Condo Called 'Mixed Blessing'
Art Deco hotel turns luxury condo, a growing trend in Miami Beach that concerns some, though renovation of the Carlyle has advantages.
By STERLING BADER
Art Deco News.Com
The rebirth of the famous Art Deco Carlyle Hotel as million-dollar condominiums is a “very big bag of mixed blessings” for the Miami Beach Art Deco Historic District, says Bill Farkas, Executive Director of the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL). Farkas told Art Deco News.Com that he's
concerned about a hotel-to-condominium conversion trend having a negative impact on tourism in South Beach, Miami Beach's Historic Art Deco District.
“If we lose the supply of hotel rooms, the street (Ocean Drive) will suffer,” the executive director said. “People come to stay, not just walk around.”
Farkas sees the Carlyle, the 1930s-era hotel made famous in films such as The Birdcage, Scarface and Bad Boys II, as part of a growing trend to turn boutique hotels into ultra-luxury private residences.
“I suspect there will be more conversions,” Farkas said, noting that two other Art Deco hotels, the Edison and Breakwater, were both sold recently to be redone as combination condo-hotels.
On the upside, Farkas said the conversion of hotels to private residences does resolve a major nuisance in the Art Deco District: people noise.
“The most positive thing is they won’t have restaurants and bars with patrons screaming out on the streets,” Farkas said. Eliminating what he described as “significant noise problems” will make Ocean Drive “more quiet and tranquil.”
Also positive, he said, will be improved building maintenance, improved building facades, and the elimination of marketing campaigns once condo units are sold out.
But again, Farkas expressed concern about conversions of Deco hotels to condos as part of a “much larger development issue on the beach; the excessive overbuilding of new condominiums.”
“We have a supply of many years in the making of extremely expensive condos, fueled by the weakened U.S. dollar and the move by South Americans to put capital in a safe place,” Farkas said.
And that overbuilding may worsen, he fears, fueled by “fierce pressure” on small hotel owners to sell out to big-building developers.
Though Art Deco District buildings are protected under the National Register of Historic Places, Farkas said small hotel owners have found ways around that protection.
“There’s fierce pressure on small hotels to get demolished and be replaced by bigger buildings, the MDPL executive director said. “If the owners can get the buildings declared unsafe, then they can be demolished. They let the weather go to work on the buildings and don’t take care of it. They get declared unsafe and the Historic Preservation Board can’t stop it.”
Architectural and interior redesign by Bernard Zyscovich and Oscar Glottman is returning The Carlyle to the opulence of the 1930s.
Owning Piece Of Deco Costs $1 million+
When it opened in 1939, The Carlyle Hotel on Miami Beach's Ocean Drive was the place to see and be seen. Fast-forward to the present, where the historic hotel has been reinvented as a private residential building, transforming some 50 former hotel rooms to 19 condominiums starting at about $1 million.
Though the Carlyle’s façade will remain virtually unchanged, New York developer Paul Anton, who leads a group of owners, Carlyle Beach Associates LLC, is returning the interior to 1930s opulence.
“I’m taking it back to the way it was—with the glamour of the 1930s, making an Art Deco building with all of the opportunities of modern luxury living,” he says.
Opulence in this case includes interior design packages from Zyscovich Elements of Design, an all-hours staff from butlers to white-glove valets, and membership to world-class concierge service and a private membership club just a block away. “All you’ll have to do is show up with your clothes,” Anton says. “We’ll even hang them up for you
A Swarovski chandelier is the focal point of The Carlyle’s new lobby. Photo courtesy of Seth Browarnik/Red Eye Productions.
when you arrive.” Service on a par with a five-star resort won’t come cheap. At $1,000 a square foot, the smallest units were at least $1 million.
Two penthouse residences, in excess of 4,025 square feet of interior and exterior space combined, were priced from $4.5 million.
Anton purchased the building, which had been shuttered for many years, from the previous owner, Diesel jeans founder Renzo Rosso, for $12.5 million.
Investors have put $6 million into renovations, including the lobby, in what has been described as an “old Hollywood glamour motif.”
Furnishings are being custom made to evoke the period, a spokesperson said, while original elements of the lobby itself are being restored to 1930's splendor. Lush elements of the ’30s look include crystal door knobs, Terrazzo counter tops and glossy lacquer paneled cabinetry. Visit www.thecarlyleoceandrive.com or call 305-531-3238.
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