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Front Page » Top Stories » Owners Consider Razing Dupont Plaza Building 40story Towers

Owners Consider Razing Dupont Plaza Building 40story Towers

Written by on November 7, 2002

By Frank Norton
four blocks at heart of downtown in hands of miami commissioners county manager becoming miami-dade’s chief financial officer banking world watches florida as signs of wachovia-first union merger appear owners consider razing dupont plaza, building 40-story towers development schedule could pave way to redesign downtown miami’s one-way routes moves to suburbs don’t jeopardize miami’s core business, brokers say bayview financial trading to move 350 to rouse’s new coral gables office complex calendar of events fyi miami filming in miami classified ads front page about miami today put your message in miami today contact miami today job opportunities research our files the online archive order reprints owners consider razing dupont plaza, building 40-story towersBy Frank Norton

Owners of the Dupont Plaza in downtown Miami are considering razing part or all of the hotel and adjoining vacated apartments to build higher towers.

"We’re exploring all of our possibilities. One is to demolish all or part of that property and build residential or even office space there," said Bruce Lazar, partner with Lionstone Hotels & Resorts, which owns the property.

The firm in May halted an estimated $80 million renovation on the 44-year-old building in order to weigh partnership offers to redevelop the riverfront site.

If a deal is struck, it would probably entail tearing down the 11-story building and erecting several towers along the waterfront. The Dupont Plaza lies on the north bank of the Miami River where it spills into Biscayne Bay.

"Given the size and value of the property you’d have to build up around 40 stories," Mr. Lazar said. "On small, expensive parcels the only way to recoup development costs is by going up."

Mr. Lazar would not reveal any possible partners Lionstone is talking with, calling discussions "way too premature."

With the river to the south. Dupont Plaza will be bordered on the northeast by a portion of the One Miami development where the Related Group plans to break ground in March on 40-story twin towers. To the north and across Southeast Fourth Street, MDM Development Group is proposing a three-tower, mixed-use project that would also be part of One Miami – in all a 9-acre project.

MDM Vice President Timothy Weller said he would welcome additional riverfront high-rise development in the area.

"We’d like to see that redeveloped and become compatible with Related’s project and with ours," Mr. Weller said.

"We’d just hope for good view corridors and access to the river walk," he said, referring to plans to create public space along the Miami River and connecting Biscayne Bay shorelines.

Development of that area must balance private interests with public input, said Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk of architecture consultants Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.

"The reality we deal with is that while public sector regulations are in place, private development puts a great deal of reliance and in some cases acquiescence on private initiatives," said Ms. Plater-Zyberk, who is also the dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. "The streets are the realm of Miami and should represent the civic character of the city."