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Board delays decision on Miami Housewives’ plan to raze Star Island home

Real Housewife of Miami Lisa Hochstein won’t get her “dream home” on Star Island. At least, not yet.

Miami Beach’s Design Review Board on Tuesday delayed a vote on plans submitted by Hochstein and her husband to raze a notable but perhaps crumbling 1925 home on the southeast corner of the exclusive island enclave and build a 14,000-square-foot mansion in its place. The couple, who already have a house on one of Miami Beach’s Sunset Islands, said they considered restoring the home after buying it but quickly scrapped that idea after they learned the structure was decaying.

Lisa Hochstein, a cast member of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Miami, told board members that the proposed mansion “is the home of our dreams.”

But preservationists called the proposed mansion a nightmare and staged a last-minute drive to save the existing home, designed by Walter Degarmo, one of Miami’s prominent early architects. Charlie Urstadt, chairman of the influential Design Preservation League, said the Hochstein’s plans to demolish a piece of the city’s history were “immoral.”

The Degarmo-designed home, however, is not designated historic by the city, which means the Hochsteins do not need the approval of Miami Beach’s protective Historic Preservation Board. Instead, they need the city’s Design Review Board to sign off on their development plans.

But board members, after hearing from staff that the design for the Hochstein’s mansion had not been thoroughly vetted with city planners and an engineering report was not thorough enough, voted to delay a vote.

The board, which can not outright deny the Hochsteins’ application to demolish the existing Degarmo home, will reconsider the proposed mansion in February.