Tag Archives: Island Terrace

Might the Belle Isle flooding threat be back? It looks bad for Island Terrace.

How a small rise in sea-level would impact 5 Island Avenue.

How a small rise in sea-level would impact 5 Island Avenue.

At a Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce conference on sea-level rise, one of the many scientists in attendance pointed to Belle Isle as a Miami Beach location specifically threatening by seas rising faster than previous believed.

According to the Real Deal, Keren Bolter, research coordinator for Florida Atlantic University Center for the Environmental Studies, said specific buildings on Belle Isle are at particular risk.

Bolter said that in as little as 15 years, flooding in Belle Isle will grow much worse, especially at Island Terrace, a 16-story condo built in 1967. “It’s coming up not just at the sides,” she said while showing Lidar maps depicting future sea-level rise at Island Terrace and Belle Isle. “It comes up from underground.” That’s partly because the limestone that South Florida land is predominately made of us is extremely porous. Because of this, not even sea walls will stop the flow of water, Bolter added.

It’s interesting to look at how the recent project on sea-level rise by Florida International University projects flooding in our area.

It shows Island Terrace flooding with an increase of 1.22 feet of water.

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Architects behind The Standard Hotel and Lido Spa were stellar, but perhaps not who you think

A 1959 postcard from the Monterey Motel on Belle Isle.

A 1959 postcard from the Monterey Motel on Belle Isle.

As The Standard (formerly Lido Spa) unveils plans for its third major renovation, it’s a good opportunity to review the architectural lineage of a property that includes work by luminaries in South Florida design history.

Most folks who consider themselves Miami Beach old timers associate The Standard with the Lido Spa — for years a destination for a certain generation, more blue hair than purple streaks, less hip than hip replacement.

Ah, uncongested Belle Isle.

Ah, uncongested Belle Isle.

But the Lido was the second incarnation of  hotel/motel at 40 Island Ave.

It started in 1953, and was known as the Monterrey Motel. Architect Norman Giller originally designed the Monterrey with a glass gable facade. It had two wings of rooms, two floors on the west and one floor on the east.

Giller’s hotel designs are considered groundbreaking works of Miami Modern architecture. His other work includes the Ocean Palm and Thunderbird Motels in Sunny Isles Beach, and the Carillon Hotel and the North Shore Bandshell in North Beach.

monterey brochureThe original Monterrey became the Lido Spa in 1960. The new owner added the three-story lobby and spa building with the classic sign and gold grille panels. Here’s where the architectural history becomes more murky.

Many publications have attributed that work  to architectural legend Morris Lapidus.

Among them: Travel and Leisure magazine in a much repeated piece from 2005, and the city of Miami Beach in it’s own MiMoTutorial

But the authoritative book MIMO: Miami Modern Revealed, by Eric Nash and Randall Robinson, credits  A. Herbert Mathes  for the entry building design. So does Miami Architecture, an American Institute of Architects guide to South Florida’s design treasures.

The Lapidus anthology Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy, which lists all of Lapidus buildings, does not mention the Lido at all.

Tom Mooney, the city of Miami Beach preservation officer and planner, says the city of Miami Beach building card for 40 Island Ave. does not name Lapidus, though it does name Norman Giller for the original design. It’s worth a look, to see that the original Monterrey building cost was estimated at $200,000. You can see renovation details from air conditioning upgrades to pool construction.

3 Island Ave.

3 Island Ave.

5 Island Ave.

5 Island Ave.

(It’s worth mentioning that Lapidus did make his mark on Belle Isle. Two other Belle Isle buildings are Lapidus designs: Terrace Tower (1962) at 3 Island Ave. and Island Terrace (1967), 5 Island Ave.)

The 2005 renovation of The Standard was done by Alison Spear, one of the founders of the groundbreaking Miami architectural firm Arquitectonica.

In 1962, Belle Isle with Monterey/Lido in the foreground.

In 1962, Belle Isle with Monterrey/Lido in the foreground, slightly left.

Belle Isle buildings struggle with renovations; report from Belle Plaza, Nine Island, Costa Brava

The concrete has been poured at the Costa Brava pool.

The construction and renovation at Belle Isle condos have moved forward on a number of fronts, but not without challenges.

— At Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave., a seawall reconstruction went awry, with the new seawall built in a slightly wrong location, resulting in violation notices and delays.

A second construction phase is supposed to resume this week, Belle Plaza resident (and Belle Isle Residents Association president) Scott Diffenderfer tells us. Work there started in June, and was to be finished in September, but the new seawall extended two feet too far into the bay. Now,  “everything is cleared for a second try,” Diffenderfer said.

— At Costa Brava, 11 Island Ave., the pool rehab project became an almost complete rebuild, with workers replacing all the original reinforcing steel. That job, which started in August, is now moving forward with the concrete sprayed into place last month and the coping going in this week.

— At Nine Island Avenue, the long-delayed pool deck renovation is nearing lift-off, with a $3.55 million cost estimate. Units owners there have wrangled for nearly 10 years over the need and cost of the project, which at one point was going to include not only renovation work but a redesign.

The need for the renovation is clear; the concrete deck, which serves as the ceiling for Nine Island’s lobby level parking garage, is crumbling and leaking in a variety of places, exposing reinforcing steel and dropping concrete. The city of Miami Beach has filed a violation notice against the building, demanding it be fixed.

The board elected last year hired an engineering firm, and tasked them with providing a cost estimate for fixing the structural issues. Last week, the association sent unit owners notice of a Feb. 15 meeting, at which the board will vote on a $3.55 million assessment.

The work is supposed to take 270 days, and will require closing parts of the parking garage during the construction period. The assessment also includes repairing Nine Island’s tennis courts.

— At Terrace Towers, 3 Island Ave., renovation work continues as well. The city Board of Adjustment has a public hearing scheduled for March 4 to vote on a variance to add pickets to the pool area wall along Venetian Way and exceed the maximum fence height.