Item Coversheet



TO: Public Safety and Neighborhood Quality of Life Committee Members

Alina T. Hudak

DATE: March 22, 2023




On February 1, 2023, at the request of Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, the City Commission referred the attached discussion item to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Quality of Life Committee (Item C4 K).

The property, located at 301-317 71st Street (301 71st Street), at the northwest corner of the intersection of 71st Street and Harding Avenue, contains a 1-story bank building with an integrated 55’-0” tall decorative pylon structure. The building was constructed in 1952 and designed by architect Edwin T. Reeder in the Post War Modern style of architecture. The original building did not include the subject decorative pylon.

According to City records, in 1966 an alteration and addition permit was issued for improvements designed by A. Herbert Mathes for Miami Beach Federal Savings and Loan, was issued. This permit included, among other minor interior alterations, the installation of the iconic pylon. It is important to note that the original architectural function of this structure was to accommodate large signage extending above the roof of the building.

On April 9, 2019, the property owner submitted an application to the Design Review Board (DRB) requesting approval to remove the pylon located at 301 71st Street. On July 7, 2020, the DRB denied the request to remove the pylon, without prejudice, due to the fact that a replacement option for the pylon was not provided.

On November 8, 2022, the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) held a discussion regarding the existing pylon structure located at 301 71st Street. As part of this discussion the HPB unanimously approved the following motion with five (5) members present:

Transmit a recommendation to the Mayor and City Commission to explore all possible options for the retention of the existing decorative pylon structure currently located at 301 71 Street including its possible relocation or acquiring a conservation easement from the property owner.


Properties located within a local historic district or properties that are individually designated as historic are afforded protection against demolition. The City’s historic preservation regulations require the review and approval of the HPB for the demolition of any structure within its jurisdiction. The property located at 301 71st Street is not located within an historic district and is not an individually designated historic site. As such, the HPB has no jurisdiction over the property, or the pylon structure.

DRB approval is required for the replacement of the pylon, but the DRB cannot mandate the retention of the structure. Although the DRB does not have any legal jurisdiction to deny the removal of the structure, the DRB does have jurisdiction to review, and require, some form of iconic replacement for the pylon that satisfies the Design Review criteria.

The site of the pylon structure is within the TC-C (Town Center Central Core) zoning district. The goal of the district is to facilitate and enable the design and construction of larger buildings within the Town Center and to encourage the development of 71st Street. The floor area ratio (FAR) for the site is 3.5, and the maximum building height is up to 220 feet. As such, it is presumably a matter of time before the site is redeveloped in its entirety in accordance with the FAR and height regulations of the TC-C district.

Given the fact that the pylon structure is integrated into the roof of the 1-story building, designation as an individual feature would be very challenging, and any proposed designation would likely have to be inclusive of the larger building. While the Administration recognizes the architectural and cultural value of the pylon within the North Beach community, historic designation is not recommended as it could limit future development options and undermine the intent of the TC-C district.

It is also important to note that a nearly identical pylon exists within the Flamingo Park Historic District, which was introduced at the Miami Beach Savings and Loan building located at 743 Washington Avenue. This pylon structure was also designed by A. Herbert Mathes and added to the building in 1965, eight (8) years after the construction of the existing building. Since this structure is located within a local historic district, any significant modifications or demolition is subject to the review and approval of the HPB.

According to documents submitted by the property owner as part of the previous DRB application, the pylon is approximately 55’-0” in height and weighs approximately 162,000 pounds. Due to the size and weight of the existing structure relocation to another site would be exceedingly challenging and costly. A feasibility study prepared by a structural engineer licensed in the State of Florida would be required to evaluate the possibility of a successful relocation.

It is highly unlikely that the pylon could be moved as a single piece and would more than likely need to be carefully cut into smaller pieces. In and of itself, such an endeavor, combined with moving the pylon from its original location and context, would significantly compromise and erode its historic and architectural integrity. This practice of relocation is generally not recommended by the United States Secretary of the Interior because such alterations destroy the historic relationship between buildings and the landscape, as well as create a false sense of history.

It is also important to point out limitations that the City has with regard to the placement and storage of relocated building components and structures. In this regard the storing and placement of structural relics require limited City property, and often results in costly storage and maintenance.


The Administration does not recommend the relocation of the pylon structure. Instead, the most appropriate option would be for the property owner to explore design options for the existing building, or a new development project that incorporates prominent and distinct architectural elements commensurate with the architectural quality of the subject pylon feature.


The Administration recommends that the Public Safety, Neighborhoods and Quality of Life Committee discuss and conclude the matter.

Applicable Area

North Beach
Is this a "Residents Right to Know" item, pursuant to City Code Section 2-14? Does this item utilize G.O. Bond Funds?
Yes No