DiLido property owner withdraws plan for two-lot mansion


Latin American cable executive Ahmad Lee Khamsi on Tuesday withdrew his proposal to build a 12,000-square-foot home on two lots he owns on West DiLido Dr. before Miami Beach’s Design Review Board could vote on the plans.

The address of the existing homes are 206 and 212 W. DiLido Dr. Each lot is 10,500 square feet, and according to the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser website, Khamsi bought 212 W. DiLido in May 2011 (for $2.6 million) and 206 W. DiLido in June 2012 (for $2.28 million).

Some Venetian homeowners opposed the plans as out of scale for the neighborhood, though Venetian Island Homeowner Association president Juergen Brendel had urged neighbors not to sign a petition against it.

The withdrawal by Khamsi came after the Design Review Board delayed for six months a controversial request to tear down a 1924 Star Island home that had been designed by famed architect Walter DeGarmo. That request came from Real Housewife of Miami Lisa Hochstein and her husband, plastic surgeon Leonard Hochstein.


15 responses to “DiLido property owner withdraws plan for two-lot mansion

  1. It’s important to note that while the plans were withdrawn from the DRB, the demolition and construction of the house may still continue, however it has to now be within the guidelines of the current building code. That still has the potential to result in a home that is too high and massive compared with its surrounding neighbors. The building code needs to be adjusted to prevent this from happening.

  2. Pingback: DiLido property owner withdraws plan for two-lot mansion | | Property For RentProperty For Rent

  3. If you can buy it you should be able to build what you want , the jealous haters need to go to counseling and accept themselves for what they are and what their limitations are going to be. Live your life and let others live theirs, otherwise you will be unhappy small minded followers.

  4. @B – the problem here is these are our neighbors and we are stuck with the consequences of “build what you want” – as you can see at 227 E DiLido drive, where a huge, empty house towers over 2 beautiful, small homes on each side of it. Those of us who are concerned – and there is a growing number of us – are not driven by jealousy but by the carelessness of the new designs and how they do not relate whatsoever to the surrounding properties. The new wave of investors/builders want us to think that the character of our islands are changing and should adapt to their designs. We believe the islands already have their character, and that the new designs should respect and conform to that – not in terms of style necessarily, but in overall size, height, and massing. I urge you to watch the DRB video of the retired physician who lives next door to this house and is extremely upset that such a large house (3.5x bigger and significantly taller than his) would be allowed right next door. See how the architect condescends him and the rest of the neighbors, and how the owner is unwilling to compromise save for trimming some hedges. The code needs to be updated to take into account the new wave of investor flippers so that their homes fit within the existing layout and character of our beautiful islands, where many have lived for over 20 years, including myself.

  5. No doubt, Miami Beach is in need of an overhaul to its zoning code and maps. City officials must decide when to undertake that complex, time consuming project.

    So what is the role of concerned citizens and homeowner associations as it relates to appropriate development in our neighborhoods?

    One of the roles of a neighborhood association is to ensure the city is executing the zoning code properly. Also, where zoning is allowing construction types and uses that cause problems in a neighborhood, the association should push for portions of the code to be changed.

  6. Stracchino, Progress is going on all around you, whether in electronics, medicine or home design. If you want to stay stuck in the past, that is your right. But just because you have lived in a property for 20 years does not give you the right to stop your neighbor from living in the present. Modern homes are more energy efficient and provide a higher quality of life. Embrace improvement, don’t fear them.

    Also, have you even thought about the tax base. The 2 homes were old and poorly maintained. In 2011, the total assessed value on the 2 homes was just over $2mm which was generating approximately $45,000 in taxes. If the new home is built, it would be assessed at a minimum of $10 million which would generate over $200,000 in taxes. That is an additional $155,000 annually that can be used to improve schools for children, help the elderly, help the homeless, etc. It seems extremely selfish of you to say that you want to enjoy all the benefits of living in Miaimi but want to fight any progress that needs to happen in order for a city to grow.

    Having lived in the same house for 20 years, you are benefitting from the Homestead exemption and most likely are paying much less in taxes than what a person buying a house in the neighborhood would pay today. The City relies on a certain amount of property turnover and new build so that these new home owners who pay a tax on a much higher assessed value can support those like you who have benefitted from the Homestead exemption. If you want to stop all progress and the building of new homes, you will stop this source of revenue. Would you then be willing to give up your Homestead exemption and pay higher taxes to keep the islands unchanged since you moved here…I think not? You can’t have it both ways…..

  7. @Ale Michaels,
    Thanks for your comment. To address your main points: I am not against technology or progress. In fact, over the past decades, everything in technology has gotten smaller – from phones, computers, cars, and even homes… That being said, unlimited growth and development is not good for our town. The smart growth and development of our city since it began 100 years ago is what has helped us become an international capital of tourism, art, and finance. There is nothing selfish about asking the city to help ensure that new houses in the neighborhood do not overwhelm their neighbors. This house could easily be 7,000 square feet, 26/27 feet high, and still be worth a considerable amount of money. Instead, in this case, every single immediate neighbor of the house (save 1) reviewed the design plan and concluded that the size and volume of the new house does not fit in to the neighborhood. It’s not fair to claim those people don’t have the right to oppose such new development.

    Furthermore, anybody is allowed to take advantage of the Homestead exemption, including yourself. The fact that you didn’t come here 20 or 30 years ago is nobody’s fault… There is a tremendous amount of revenue coming into the City of Miami Beach already, and claiming that we need to demolish old homes and replace them with McMansions to improve schools for children, help the elderly, homeless, etc is baloney. We can still do all that and continue development without sacrificing the unique character of our neighborhoods and the tax base. In fact, if you look at many of the big large homes that have been built in the past several years, a considerable amount of them are in foreclosure and/or remain empty for most of the year, save for when they are rented out for large parties during high season. They are an eyesore to pass by every time we drive along the Venetian Causeway and a constant reminder of how we need to put more effective building code in place to prevent the entire neighborhood from being overrun with these speculative investments. Smart development with reasonable limitations is the way to go and will help both sides (investors and residents) stay happy, in my opinion.

    Thank you.

  8. @S,

    I appreciate your passion on this topic, however, your arguments seem to be based on what you would like others to believe rather than on facts. You say’ “if you look at many of the big large homes that have been built in the past several years, a considerable amount of them are in foreclosure”. Today, I checked with the 2 largest Real Estate Agencies that focus on waterfront homes in Miami Beach. I asked them for a listing off all new modern/large homes that are in foreclosure. The response from both of them: there are NONE, yes, not one of these homes are in foreclosure so not sure where these many homes that you talk about are located. Both Agents said they have numerous families who would be interested in this type of situation, so please provide a listing of these “many’ homes so that these Agents can get to work in selling these properties.

    It is apparent you are not in favor of larger homes being built on land that you do not own, but let’s all take the time to ensure what we write is accurate.


  9. Hi Ale,
    It seems that you took one small part of my detailed response to respond to, with a not very convincing counter-argument – which makes me question your own motives. There are several homes that have been in a foreclosure process and/or have sat empty for years waiting for a buyer to come in and finish the project – I do not want to list them here, but your “agents” should be able to get those. Here’s an idea – ask them to give you a list of properties that have been listed for over 6 months – you will start to see the trend… There is one home in particular on the corner of San Marco that many of us pass by every day – it has sat vacant now for several years.. as well as 227 E DiLido which was described before and a handful of other ones. Furthermore you can drive around the islands and notice which homes sit empty and have done so for several years. They are usually ones without any mailbox, since nobody lives there. Many are also rented out for events/parties – you may have noticed certain houses that are always empty/dark being lit up in the past week for Art Basel rentals. Now they are dark again. I am surprised you chose to point that out instead of agreeing to my point about how the majority of homes that are selling are not the big new homes but rather the smaller, more classical homes that define our neighborhood. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that these beautiful homes are what bring people to the Venetian Islands, and that we must do what we can to preserve them and to make sure that new development stays within the scale and character of the existing neighborhood.

    Thank you

    PS – speaking of accuracy, the home at 206/212 W DiLido would never be appraised at $10M, as you stated earlier… the biggest house on all the islands is currently appraised at only half of that… so if you want to talk about real facts, then please demonstrate it with real examples…

  10. @S,
    Fact 1: There are ZERO large new builds in foreclosure on the Venetian Islands. Please call The Jills or check their website which will verify this fact. Your opinion is not a fact but a listing by the MLS is fact. Your not listing any of these properties clearly shows that you do not know of any in foreclosure.

    Fact 2: The largest house on the Venetians is 125 E San Marino and as you say is appraised just over $5mm. What you conveniently leave out is that the owner bought the property over 10 years ago and that the owner has been claiming the Homestead Exemption limiting the amount of any increase in the assessment on an annual basis. Please call the City Tax Office who has told me that when a new house is completed, it is assessed based on the most similar house being sold as of January 1 of the tax year. The most recent modern new build to sell was 235 E Rivo Alto (6442 sqft) for $760/sqft on Nov 7, 2012. Based on the proposed house, that would assess the house at a minimum of $9MM and significantly increase revenue for the City. You say the City already has enough revenue but I don’t think you will find a single City Official who will agree with you on that statement.

    Fact 3: 227 East Di Lido has not been on the market for years. It was purchased in June 2011 in an unfinished state and recently finished by the buyer. The buyer was considering living in the house once it was completed, but has decided to put the house on the market for a considerable profit if they achieve the asking price.

    You finally made you bias known, which is that you believe the smaller and classical homes are beautiful and what bring people to the islands. All your arguments try to convince people to believe what you do. That is not the American way. We each have the right to determine what we believe is beautiful. I happen to think the large modern new build houses are beautiful and the smaller classic houses are not that appealing to look at….yet I would never think to tell someone to that they need to change their house as it is on their property. Do I have to look at it, yes, but do I have the right to ask them to change it to suit my tastes, absolutely not as long as it is within code. You should try giving others this same respect as you may find you live a happier life, rather than hating all others who are different or have different opinions from yourself.


  11. @A,
    Please send me the link to the Jill’s website that lists foreclosures. For as long as I have visited their site, I have never seen a page there listing foreclosures. I’d love to see the link. Thank you.

    As for San Marino – when you rebuild a home it is assessed at a new value, as you pointed out about the proposed home at 206/212 W DiLido. The home on San Marino would have also had that sort of reappraisal, and so I’m not too sure that the homestead exemption prevented an increase in this case – if so, the currently appraised value would have been significantly less than $5M.

    227 E Di Lido listing video from just 1 year ago, which negates your suggestion that it hasn’t been on the market “for years” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opmEsdX20bs

    I think it’s clear here that you are pro development without limitations, and that I am pro well-planned development that respects neighbors. In the end we are entitled to our own opinions, which is what makes this country great. Zoning codes are put in place to help preserve the character of our neighborhood, which is why the code was updated in 2006 to add a maximum unit-to-lot size when there wasn’t before – specifically because of the out of scale development. I am not the only one who believes that development needs to be in moderation.

    We can keep going around in circles but I think our points are both pretty clear.


  12. just a quick update – it turns out 227 E Dilido Dr was indeed sold in 2011 as an REO resale, which is when it’s owned by a lender… a quick check of the transaction proves this… I’m still not sure what your motives are but just want to add for the record the truth about 227 E Di Lido since you tried to say it wasn’t on the market and wasn’t in a foreclosure…


    In fact, not only in 2011, but also in 2010… when it was transferred to the bank…

    Thank you

  13. @S,
    I have no motive…I just believe in the American system of rights and freedom to all….you are against this belief in wanting to dictate to your neighbors what they can do and am simply pointing out that their is no substance behind your statements.

    You also twist words. I said that 227 E Di Lido was not currently in foreclosure. That was in response to the numerous comments you made about the ‘MANY’ modern new builds in foreclosure, which by the way, you have listed none even though asked many times. I met the owner of 227 E Di Lido who bought the house from the bank in 2011. He finished it to a very high standard which was a benefit for the neighborhood. He and his wife debated whether to live there or to list it, but decided to list it based on the price they thought they could achieve, reflecting the demand he sees for this type of house. Bottom line, it is not in foreclosure and in good condition and he sees strong demand for this type of house.

    This is my last response to you as you just seem to rant trying to get others to believe these rants to be facts. I believe in the American belief of individual rights. This includes building whatever type of house your desire as long as it is within code.

    You seem to believe in a quasi-dictatorship in which those who have lived on the islands for years have greater rights than those who recently moved here, thus believing that the longer term residents have special rights which allow them to dictate to their new neighbors what type of house they can build.

    No amount of your false arguments will ever get me to abandon my beliefs in the American concept of all being created equal. Enjoy your life hating everything that is different to you and different to what you believe in.


  14. Not to hijack this thread, but I want to know if I can have a higher priced rental and I don’t know how to find a professional listing property management firm… do you know anything about this company? They’re located in Sacramento, CA in the same city as my home and I can’t find reviews on them – Sacramento Property Management Consultants, 600 H St Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 282-3103.

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