PHOTO POST: Exploring Miami Beach’s Hidden Architectural Gems (Sights)

In my travels around Miami Beach I started to notice a lot of the abandoned and/or decrepit buildings there are around, especially along Collins Ave. Even though they are abandon or decrepit many still are pretty impressive either imagining how they once looked like or impressive in their decay. The two big ones I first noticed were the Versailles Hotel and Condo (3425 Collins Ave) and the Golden Sands Hotel at Collins and 69th. After noticing a couple others I decided to make a day of exploring and photographing the hidden “gems” of Miami Beach.

I started by trying to get close to the Versailles Hotel, which seems to be the largest and most impressive of these type of buildings. Of course being in Mid-Beach parking was terrible even already at 10 AM. So instead I went to my go-to lot for Mid-Beach at off 23rd and Collins. I then walked up Collins and found a number other buildings before turning around at 41st St and coming back along the boardwalk (boardwalk post here). Of course along the way I also saw a lot of non-abandoned/decrepit buildings and sights, but I’ll save those for another trip/time. Check out the pics and descriptions of the buildings I found below!

Old hotel (maybe?) close to Collins and 24th St where the Collins Canal hits Lake Pancoast

Old Collins Hotel

Old Collins Hotel

Versailles Hotel and Condo (3425 Collins Ave)- the Versailles was a hotel-condo building built in 1940 that has fallen into disrepair  It has quite a presence on Collins, especially approaching it from the south. I love the lines and “pattern” of the Art Deco building. The tower on top is my favorite part, but the metallic mural on the side is a closed second. Overall I love the “pattern” of the windows that I can’t help but be mesmerized by. UPDATE: rumored purchase by Alan Faena of Versailles and neighboring property for $100 million. He’s developing the “Faena District” right around the Versailles- http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2013/09/04/faena-pays-100m-to-add-versailles.html

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

Versailles Hotel Miami Beach

3720 Collins Ave- This is a building I might not have seen if I hadn’t parked way down on 23rd and walked up Collins. The building was a hotel originally built in 1937. It was bought last year by the South Beach Group, which owns a number of boutique hotels in Miami Beach (like the Metropole, Chelsea, Shelley, and Catalina) and is planning a $15 million dollar renovation. What I love about this building is the geometric designs on the balconies and the bright (but now faded colors), both which characterize a lot of Art Deco buildings.

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4210 Collins Ave- This building was one I had noticed driving up Collins, but would have forgotten while photographing if I hadn’t spent a lot of time looking for parking in Midbeach that day. While it’s much smaller than a lot of the other buildings I think it is just as impressive- either in it’s decay or what it was/could be. The asymmetrical ledges and red accent lines occasionally interrupted or chipped off made me spend a lot of time just studying all its different features. I spent a lot of trying to find more info about the building. I saw the Kobi Karp sign on the building but despite looking through all his projects couldn’t find it listed. It was cool to check out his website regardless (link here) and see all the amazing projects he’s building or renovated (including the Versailles!). With the address I was able to find a listing for a Beach Castle Hotel that looked pretty close in the few pictures there. I’m looking forward to see the renovation after Kobi Karp is done!

Beach Castle Hotel Miami Beach

Beach Castle Hotel Miami Beach

Beach Castle Hotel Miami Beach

Beach Castle Hotel Miami Beach

Beach Castle Hotel Miami Beach

Beach Castle Hotel Miami Beach

Beach Castle Hotel Miami Beach

Hotel Ocean Grande (3651 Collins Ave)- I noticed this building on my way back down Collins on my way to the Boardwalk. Of all the buildings this one was originally the most colorful. You still can see the green and pink though it has dulled significantly over the years. The building was the Hotel Ocean Grande and was built in 1937. In the historical building registry it’s described as “symmetrical design features strong vertical elements with contrasting horizontal stucco bands with round stucco medallions.” However after many years of disrepair the new owners of the building proposed tearing it down a modern building in its place. This article from May 2012 goes into more detail about the building and the process. Over a year later it’s still standing, but I couldn’t find any more recent articles with more details. I love this building for its contrasting colored horizontal and vertical bands (and just the colors themselves!).

Hotel Ocean Grande Miami Beach

Hotel Ocean Grande Miami Beach

Hotel Ocean Grande Miami Beach

Hotel Ocean Grande Miami Beach

Hotel Ocean Grande Miami Beach

The Golden Sands Hotel (6901 Collins Ave)- the building besides the Versailles Hotel that most motivated to me go explore the abandoned buildings of Miami Beach was the Golden Sands Hotel on Collins and 69th. I’d noticed when I was shopping at the Publix across the street. It is really a shell of a building now, but it’s sign still is prominent on Collins Ave. It was built in 1951. In researching the building I was able to find a 2011 picture of its “demolition” and with info that it would become part of the Canyon Ranch complex (but a separate hotel). It looks like only the back and interiors were demolished and construction on the hotel never became because the property went into foreclosure. It was scheduled to be auctioned off June 17th so we’ll see what comes for the sight!

The Golden Sands Hotel Miami Beach

The Golden Sands Hotel Miami Beach

20th and Washington- right as I was making plans to do my architecture exploration I did a quick Google search to see if any other buildings came up. I found an article that told of developers plans to revitalize 7 historical apartment buildings and hotels around 20th and Washington. Development had stalled about 12 years ago and they fell into disrepair and then a few buildings were heavily damaged in a suspicious fire. This is now another one of Kobi Karp’s projects and the pictures on his websites (link here) look pretty awesome, while still maintaining a lot of the buildings original character. For many of the buildings it’s really hard to envision what some of the buildings originally looked like, but I like seeing the bare bones and really the most decrepit of all buildings.

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