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Marriott sues city over Mid Beach boardwalk demolition

 

mherrera@MiamiHerald.com

When Marriott bought the Seville Hotel and asked Miami Beach officials to approve a renovation plan, the city agreed — provided that the company demolish the raised wooden boardwalk behind the hotel and replace it with a new paved public walkway.

Then, after the work got started, some Beach residents asked the city to save the boardwalk.

The city responded by refusing to give the hotel, at 2901 Collins Ave., a building permit to do exactly what the city asked for in the first place, according to a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

Now the project is in limbo, and the hotel is asking a judge to order the city to grant the permit. An emergency court hearing scheduled for Thursday.

City Attorney Jose Smith said that the court date was chosen to be the day after Wednesday’s commission meeting. The commission will discuss the issue to try to resolve the controversy.

“We’re going to try to work it out with the Seville-Marriott and see if we can come to an agreement,” Smith said.

In a memo to city commissioners issued Friday, Smith and City Manager Jimmy Morales note that Marriott’s plans “will be delayed significantly if plans need to be revised to reverse policy and scrap the installation of a beachwalk and the retention of the boardwalk.”

They conclude: “Staff recommends allowing the beachwalk to proceed in this stretch, in order to avoid the prospect of litigation with these pending projects.”

Marriott bought the Seville in 2010. According to the lawsuit, filed May 16, the company received all of the necessary development approval from the city in 2011. Construction began in September 2011 and the hotel submitted a request for the boardwalk permit on Nov. 7, 2012.

The new hotel, The Miami Beach EDITION, is set to open in June 2014, but the company fears delays if it doesn’t get the permit.

According to the suit, the group has committed to spend 65 percent of its estimated renovation costs, and has already spent 30 percent of that budget. The suit claims that by forcing Marriott to change their design plan, it will cost a “substantial additional and unbudgeted expense.”

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