Preservation Watch: Another Med Revival Star Island Castle Could Bite the Dust

Curbed Staff
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[Photo by Arthur Marcus]

Miami Beach city staff is set to review preliminary plans to demolish one third of the historic Star Island Yacht Club, originally built by Carl Fisher (as in Carl-founded-Miami-Beach-Fisher) in 1931, and located at 22 Star Island Drive. The 83-year old, 8,000 square foot home is a jewel of Miami Mediterranean Revival architecture by architect Martin Hampton, complete with limestone façades, Venetian balconies, arched windows, a tile roof, and a history of absolutely fascinating residents.

It was one of three buildings that once comprised Star Island's yacht club property which, after dividing the club building into three large houses, Fisher eventually sold to Col. Ned Green, an extravagant and excessive one-legged heir who was known for keeping several young lovers and even bringing the circus (literally) to his front lawn. Oh, Ned's mother, Hetty "The Witch of Wall Street" Green, once considered the richest woman in the world, came along too.

Ironically enough, the home's current owner is Stuart Miller, CEO of Lennar Corporation, the mega home developer headquartered in Miami. Instead of preserving and renovating, Miller wants to erect a new 22,000 SF mansion that would be triple the size of the current home. The news comes 6 months after the demolition of the "historic-although-never-officially-designated" 42 Star Island home owned by that Reality TV couple Lisa and Leonard Hochstein, and is already fueling petitions by preservationists and local residents who don't believe the City's recent attempts to revise development regulations and encourage preservation are aggressive enough.

The City Commission's Land Use & Development Committee is considering more tweaks to the code in a meeting this afternoon, including increasing the threshold for homes that would be considered "architecturally significant" from homes built before 1942 to homes built before 1966. As for the Fisher gem, plans could be placed on an agenda later in the fall, and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has stated that he will personally appeal to Miller to try and convince him to preserve the home.—Margina Demmer

· Lennar CEO seeking demolition of Star Island historic home [Miami Herald]
· Save 22 Star Island Drive [Change.org]