The Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach is starting to fall apart, piece by piece.
On Saturday, workers tore down part of the hotel’s main entrance and its metallic red sign, just days after the city issued a permit to demolish the 1957 hotel that once housed the Beatles.
Two bulldozers were parked in the driveway of the long-shuttered hotel at 6701 Collins Ave. Saturday afternoon. A tangle of steel and cement lay on the steps of the 538-room hotel and shopping complex as its sign was pulled to the side.
The news of the work surprised the residents, who thought they had been informed of the start of the demolition work. Historic conservators, who are fighting to save the building from demolition, were also in shock.
The hotel, closed since 2017, is located in a historic area of North Beach. The owners – the Meruelo family – submitted an engineering report last December recommending the demolition of the building. The city building official inspected the site, confirmed the report’s findings, and issued the demolition permit after determining the building was unsafe.
But in a memo on Thursday, City Manager Alina Hudak said hotel owners will have to perform asbestos removal, a process governed by Miami-Dade County. A city spokeswoman also said Thursday that landlords were required to give residents and neighboring property owners 10 days notice before demolition.
There is also a pending appeal of the Miami-Dade County demolition order, filed by the Miami Design Preservation League, which Hudak says could eventually invalidate the order.
Daniel Ciraldo, executive director of the Miami Beach-based preservation group, said the historic preservation community was shocked to see demolition begin on a Saturday morning despite the required asbestos removal work and the ongoing appeal which he said would be heard next month.
“We are in total shock right now,” he said.
The city did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday afternoon and a building inspector who visited Deauville declined to speak to a reporter. Lawyers representing the owners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jasen Walker, who lives next to Sterling Condominiums, said he woke up on Saturday to notice his balcony was covered in dust. When he walked to Collins Avenue, he saw construction going on and spoke to business owners across the street who complained about dust covering their outdoor tables. By the time Walker got home, his sandals were covered in dust.
Walker said if he had known the demolition was taking place, he would have made preparations. But he said the 10-day notice never came.
“They just don’t do what they said they were going to do,” he said.
At nearby Norman’s Tavern, owner Matteo Chialastri said the demolition work was hurting his business as dust rendered outdoor seating unusable. On a typical Saturday in March, the tables would be full, he said.
“The way they do it is really disorganized,” he said.
This story was originally published March 12, 2022 3:21 p.m.