Preserving Miami Beach, one house at a time

I’ve known about the Miami Design Preservation League since the late 1980s when I used to receive information about their meetings and efforts while working as Calendar Editor at Miami Today. Heck, I remember sitting at the Carlyle, one of the few places that had been re-done and was open back then, and having lunch with a friend who lived on the still quite desolate beach at the time. And ever since then, I’ve been singing their praises.

I believe it is through their efforts that Miami Beach is now the world-renowned SoBe that continually keeps South Florida front and center as the ultimate playground and getaway.

Well, they’re still fighting the good fight except now, it’s in the residential sector. Seems one too many billionaires are gobbling up historic homes in the Beach’s ritziest areas and looking to demolish them to make way for their custom-made McMansions. Certainly they didn’t bet on the feisty advocates of the MDPL to stand in their way, but that’s exactly what’s happening.

Watching this unfold takes me back to those days when they helped to shape SoBe and keep the integrity of those many cherished Art Deco buildings. One by one, they fought and succeeded in restoring them to their original glory. Sure, commercialization has crept into South Beach and the inevitable has happened…chain stores and restaurants dotting the landscape.

But there is still plenty of integrity in the area, I mean look at the gorgeous Soundscape Park and even the funky shops inside of a parking garage. The creativity is inevitable, and it’s creativity that fits into the look, feel and design of the area without compromising that integrity.

So I’ll sit and watch as they fight to preserve those historic homes and cheer them on so they will succeed much like they did in the Art Deco District. And if need be, I’ll make my voice heard and join in the fight, it’s the least I can do.

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