Developer Wants To Replace Landmark Eatery With Office Tower
A developer wants to transform the former site of legendary CafÈ Chauveron in Bay Harbor Islands into a six-story office building.
Irwin Tauber, president of Taubco, said he plans to bring in Starbucks, a five-star restaurant from New York and two banks. The project, he said, would cost about $25 million.
"We feel that constructing a Class A office building will benefit Bay Harbor Islands and its residents," Mr. Tauber said.
At least one town official said he doubts the project will be approved without some tweaking.
"The project as it is designed does not meet current zoning regulations," said town planner Mike Miller.
The proposed building, according to Mr. Miller, is "too big for the property." In addition, the conceptual plan submitted by the developer last month calls for most parking spaces to be offsite, he said.
"They asked us to consider certain modifications in the zoning rules in order for them to build the building as designed," Mr. Miller said.
The waterfront property on East Bay Harbor Drive once was home to CafÈ Chauveron, a French eatery considered one of the best restaurants in Miami.
"CafÈ Chauveron was an outstanding five-star restaurant," said Stuart Blumberg, president of the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association. "It’s not your normal I’m-going-there-on-Friday-night place. It’s where you went to for special occasions."
The restaurant closed in the early 1990s and a string of establishments have taken over its space – among them Renato’s Restaurant, Bay 61 Restaurant and Bar, CafÈ Pavarotti and Renaissance, which folded in 1998.
Mr. Tauber acquired the property in 2001 and converted it to a one-story office building, which his company now occupies.
"This is such an important location for an office building in Bay Harbor," he said.
Mr. Tauber said he hopes to break ground in January and complete the project in March 2007.
The propject first needs to be reviewed by city officials and as of last week, Mr. Tauber’s plan was not on the town council meeting agenda.
"As far as I know," said town clerk Marlene Marante, "he’s not on any agenda… unless someone’s going to request for it."