Apparently houses built by boobs are like way, way more important than historic homes designed by famous architects! Lisa Hochstein and her husband Dr. Lenny Hochstein recently purchased a home on Star Island, and that home is part of Miami's history.
They couple has plans to completely tear down the home to make way for a new, over-the-top, ode to plastic surgery mansion in its place. There's only one problem… the home the Real Housewives of Miami star purchased was actually designed in 1925 by Walter DeGarmo, a famous Miami architect credited with the Mediterranean Revival-style that helped define the city.
Which means the Hochstein's home is considered something of a historic landmark.
Local historical preservation activists and city planning boards have taken issue with the Hochstein's plan to destroy a beautiful representation of historic Miami Beach. Residents have since started a petition to bar Lisa and Lenny from destroying the home!
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The house, located at 42 Star Island Dr, sits on the island's southeast corner and the petition is attracting national attention. The Hochsteins bought the house in foreclosure for $7.6 Million. Dr. Lenny claims the reason for tearing down the house is that it's structurally unsound and "sits well below the flood elevation level for the island."
However not everyone feels that reason is valid. And one of the major banes of contention with Lenny and Lisa's plans is their so-called "bad taste" in home design!
The Hochsteins are selling their current home for $10M and it has been described as "gaudy," "ostentatious," and just plain tacky (I added that last one). Residents of their Miami Beach community don't want another huge mcmansion replacing the historic Star Island home!
Bloggers are also slamming the Hochsteins for their "absolutely absurd" decision to destroy the home. “I think it’s a complete disregard for the historic house,’’ real estate estate blogger Sean McCaughan told The Miami Hearld. “It’s obviously a huge slap in the face to historic preservation in Miami Beach.’’
Miami Design Preservation League chairman Charles Urstad is working hard to protect this house and others – and he wants the city to support their efforts and protect Miami's history. “We do have some historically significant homes left, but we’ve lost so many. It’s a tough problem to address, but how are we going to combat this?”
Entrepreneur and preservationist Daniel Ciraldo agrees. “It may be too late to save this house. But we may be able to save some of the remaining houses before they’re all replaced with these out-of-character McMansions.’’
Lenny calls the criticism of his taste "nasty" and "offensive." He also claims they plan to construct the new house with some historic significance in mind and says the new bayfront facade " would not be appreciably different from the DeGarmo house from a distance."
“I can’t make everybody happy,’’ Lenny explains. “This is the United States, where we’re allowed, within reason, to build to your taste. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to come as a guest.’’
Because the house is not officially designated as a historic home the Hochsteins are going forward with plans. They have already submitted blueprints and a demolition request to the city.
Unfortunately city planners are currently investigating these plans. In a new report to the design board they called the DeGarmo house "exceptional" as is and "questioned the Hochstein engineer’s claim that the house is beyond repair, noting that he apparently conducted no testing to prove it." Their report also found the condition of the house to be "quite typical" for homes of that time period.
Interestingly the city also call into question the Hochstein's taste! HA! The Hochsteins plans for the new compound include a mansion, garage, and guest house (probably for Lisa's MIL!) "plunked down" on the lot “with no design relationship or consideration to each other, adjacent residences, or the unique geometry’’ of the property.
The city planners are urging the board to postpone consideration for the application and want architect Kobi Karp to redraw plans that fit in better with the area.
Karp's current designs feature a classically-inspired home (whatever that means!) with the following accessories: "double-height columns, parapets, balustrades, heavy iron gates, and garland moldings above the windows. It has a five car garage with guest apartment, a separate two-story guest house, a large pool, a motor court, a home theater, a gym, a game room, a massage room, an office, a kitchen island the size of a medium-sized boat, a chandelier in the foyer bigger than some cars, twin grand staircases, and six bedrooms in the main house.’’ Sounds… uuuuhhhh… really classy!
The Gables Preservation Board is not giving up the fight yet. They recently succeeding in stopping another planned tear-down of a historic home and they hope to accomplish the same thing with the Hochstein's house.
Maybe Lisa should just sell the house to Lea Black. She liked it just the way it was and instead is planning her own tear-down of a nearby home that doesn't have historic significance. Lea's Star Island home was built in the 80's. Member that show Trading Spaces?
[Photo Credit: JLN Photography/WENN.com]
TELL US – SHOULD THE HOCHSTEINS BE ALLOWED TO DEMOLISH A HISTORIC HOME OR SHOULD THEY TRY TO RESPECT THE MIAMI'S HISTORY?