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June 11, 2013

Preservationists lose appeal to save Miami Beach mansion owned by Real Housewife and ‘The Boob God’

Historic preservationists lost a round in their fight to preserve a 1925 mansion on Star Island in Miami Breach.

Preservationists lost an appeal they hoped would save the home at 42 Star Island from demolition, and their fight is now likely headed to court.

Real Housewives of Miami cast member Lisa Hochstein and her husband, plastic surgeon Leonard “The Boob God,” got approval for plans that include tearing down the house, but the Miami Design Preservation league appealed that approval.

The mansion in question was built in 1925 by Florida’s first registered architect, Walter DeGarmo. It stands at a prominent corner of Star Island in Miami Beach, visible from the MacArthur Causeway.

In March, the city’s Design Review Board approved plans for a new house on the site. The approval was needed before the Hochsteins’ could demolish the old house.

On Monday, a special master denied MDPL’s appeal Design Review Board’s decision.

Still pending is MDPL’s application to designate the home as historic.

Despite this week’s denial, MDPL attorney Kent Harrison Robbins took comfort in the special master’s decision that the preservation group itself has legal standing to appeal city board decisions. The Hochsteins’ attorneys had questioned whether that’s the case.

Robbins said MDPL will now appeal the demolition approval in court.

Leonard Hochstein said he expected that, but didn’t seem worried.

“They’ll lose. They’ll delay us and they’ll cost us more money, but that’s what these people do,” he said.

If the preservationists let the matter die, Hochstein said he’ll essentially have vested rights, making the historic designation process moot.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.

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