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Sagamore and Ritz Hotel owners seek to build 17-story oceanfront residential tower on combined property in Miami Beach

Sagamore and Ritz Hotel
Sagamore and Ritz Hotels via

The owners of the historic Sagamore and Ritz Hotels in Miami Beach are proposing upgrades to the Sagamore along with the construction of a new 200-ft, the 17-story luxury residential tower on the unified property. The project includes “rebranding the Sagamore Property as a luxury hotel, on par with the Ritz Hotel brand,” according to the application filed with the City’s Historic Preservation Board (HPB).

The proposed residential tower designed by architect Kobi Karp would contain approximately 50 units ranging in size from 1,000 sq. ft. to 2330+ sq. ft. In order to build the tower, the owners want to demolish a 1990’s rear addition to the Sagamore and construct a structure that would be cantilevered over the existing four-story cabana on the north side of the Ritz property but with no structural connection to the existing Ritz building. Above a ground-floor residential lobby, one residential unit would be located on each of the third and fourth levels, an amenity area and pool deck would be located on level 5, with the remaining residential units (four units per floor) on levels 6-17.

Allowable height on the site was increased from 50 to 200 feet through legislation approved by City Commissioners in 2019. The text amendment applied to oceanfront properties from 16th to 21st Streets with a minimum lot size of 115,000 sq. ft. and includes restrictions on floorplate size and setbacks. The change paved the way for developer Michael Shvo to combine the iconic Raleigh Hotel with the adjacent Richmond and South Seas hotels into one development site and to build a new residential tower behind them. After significant pushback from the HPB, the developer agreed to reduce the new building’s height to 175 feet.

In the application letter to the HPB for the Ritz-Sagamore development, attorney Alfredo Gonzalez of Greenberg Traurig wrote, “The centralized placement of the Oceanfront Tower minimizes the impact of the residential development” on the historic Ritz and Sagamore buildings and “is ideally situated to the rear of the existing historical structures so as to not interfere with the pedestrian views of these historical facades from Collins Avenue. In addition, the narrow footprint of the tower minimizes any impacts to the beach walk or beach.”

Gonzalez provided context for the proposed tower by including the heights of nearby buildings from 15th to 20th Streets:

  • Lowes Hotel – 272 feet in height
  • The Decoplage – 183 feet in height
  • National Hotel – 130 feet in height
  • Delano Hotel – 150 feet in height
  • Ritz Plaza SLS Hotel – 204 feet in height
  • Marseilles – 127 feet in height
  • The Raleigh Hotel – 175 feet in height (approved)
  • The Shelborne Hotel – 171 feet in height
  • Shore Club – 225 feet in height

Gonzalez and Karp both worked with Shvo on The Raleigh development.

By Susan Askew
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