A handful of buildings on Miami Beach’s Alton Road, at the corner of Lincoln Road — including the mosaic-adorned Wells Fargo branch — soon will be demolished to make way for a new retail and parking complex.
Developer Crescent Heights has been assembling the properties on the 1600 block of Alton Road since August 2013, with plans to tear them down and create a new, five-story, modernistic structure, to be called 1212 Lincoln Road.
The goal is for the development, across from the Regal South Beach movie theater, to be an extension of popular Lincoln Road — luring shoppers to cross Alton Road, said Marisa Galbut, retail manager for Miami-based Crescent Heights.
“Alton Road could definitely use an energetic boost and a bit of the facelift,” said Galbut, citing ongoing construction on the major Miami Beach artery. “Businesses there have really been hurting, so I see it as a revival of the road.”
Galbut, the daughter of Crescent Heights Managing Principal Russell Galbut, said she expects 1212 Lincoln Road to attract the same type of national and international chain retailers that now line Lincoln Road.
Tenants currently in the four buildings that will be demolished include Verticals & More, Gun Depot, Mattress Town, Spiaggia and Taco Rico. Mattress Town has occupied its space for 27 years, and several others have been there a decade or longer. The four buildings were built from 1926 to 1937.
Miami-Dade property records show that a Crescent Heights affiliate purchased the four properties on the west side of Alton Road for a total of $48 million. Wells Fargo still owns its building at 1634 Alton, which was built in 1940. Crescent Heights has a contract to acquire it, and then will tear down, Galbut said.
Demolition and construction will be done in two phases, beginning next year, once new tenants are lined up, she said. The city of Miami Beach’s Design Review and Planning Boards have already given their approvals to the development, spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez confirmed.
The west side of Alton Road is not part of an historic district, and Miami Beach’s historic preservation guidelines only apply to properties within historic districts, said Daniel Ciraldo, historic preservation officer for the Miami Design Preservation League. So although some of the buildings date back to the 1920s and 1930s, they can be demolished without any sort of review, he said.
“We have been advocating for a review process similar to Coral Gables, where any building in the city, if proposed for demolition, is reviewed first for its historic significance,” Ciraldo said. “If we had that in place, some of the buildings might be preserved.”
Ciraldo said his organization has asked the city of Miami Beach if the mosaics on the Wells Fargo building, which were designed by artist Enzo Gallo, can be saved. But he said he has not yet heard back.
When completed, 1212 Lincoln Road will have three stories of parking and two stories of retail shops, with a total of 83,484 square feet of commercial space and 297 parking spaces. Construction will be completed in about two years, Galbut said.
The Wells Fargo building will be demolished in the second phase, and the bank will become a tenant in the new building, said Jose Gelabert-Navia, principal of Perkins + Will in Coral Gables, the architects for the project.
Gelabert-Navia said the design of the new structure will be in keeping with the Bernard Zyscovich-designed Regal Cinemas and the iconic, Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road.
“You will see when you are on Lincoln Road, it will stand out,” Galbut said. “And getting the visitors and locals to cross Alton and continue their shopping experience will be a benefit to all of Lincoln Road.”