River Cities

Miami Springs settles over ‘major repairs’ at $4.5 million Curtiss Mansion

An exterior view of the newly renovated Curtiss Mansion in Miami Springs on March 30, 2012.
An exterior view of the newly renovated Curtiss Mansion in Miami Springs on March 30, 2012. Miami Herald File

Miami Springs council members have voted unanimously to execute a settlement agreement to conduct ‘major repairs’ at the Curtiss Mansion, 500 Deer Run Dr.

About one year after the mansion reopened its doors in April 2012, it started falling apart.

The city quickly sent the architect, engineer and contractor notice of the mansion’s “premature rotting, deterioration, and failure of cypress timbers in the columns, balcony, railings and trellis” areas, shows a Feb. 11, 2014, notice of claim filed by the city.

During February 2014, the city of Miami Springs and the nonprofit group that runs the Curtiss Mansion jointly issued a news release that stated, in part: “The Curtiss Mansion in Miami Springs is not falling down. The Mansion remains open, safe and available to rent for weddings, quinceneras, meetings, birthdays or any special day you wish to celebrate with friends and family.”

“For some time now, the Curtiss Mansion has experienced warranty issues involving the wood, the timbers there have been rotted out, some have been replaced and now major repairs need to be done,” Miami Springs City Attorney Jan Seiden said at the June 22 council meeting.

The costs of repairs remain unknown, Seiden said on Friday, when asked by the Herald how much it would cost to replace the rotted wood at the mansion.

“No real dollars involved,” Seiden said. “The insurers responsible for the architect, engineer and contractor are picking up the costs.”

The Miami Springs City Council voted 5-0 on June 22 to settle “all claims” regarding the Curtiss Mansion with R.J. Heisenbottle Architects P.A., Douglas Wood Associates, and Carivon Construction Co. The parties “deny any allegation of any wrongdoing,” states the settlement agreement.

The pueblo-style home, built in 1925, was once home to Glenn Curtiss, who is credited with building Miami Springs, as well as neighboring Hialeah and Opa-locka. The home burned down in the 1970s.

In 1998, the nonprofit Curtiss Mansion Inc. was formed and tasked with raising money to rebuild the historic home, which reopened in 2012. “This all-volunteer group raised more than $4.5 million for this effort,” according to the city of Miami Springs website.

“The work will start on Aug. 17 and be concluded before Sept. 21,” Seiden said.