BEST SPECTACLE - 2005
Demolition of the Everglades Hotel
BEST SPECTACLE Demolition of the Everglades Hotel What goes up must come down. It may take a hundred years, maybe a thousand, but even the new condo towers rising in the first decade of this new millennium will one day crumble, perhaps into a rising sea. As for the sixteen-story Everglades Hotel, it endured almost 80 years before dissolving into a heap in eight short seconds, helped along this past January 23 by high-tech explosives. But even the preservationist community didn't have much to cry about; long ago the building's original Mediterranean Revival exterior had been remodeled out of existence. For example, in 1959 the cupola atop the building (which, like the nearby Freedom Tower, emulated the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain) met the same fate as Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa -- it disappeared without a trace. The union actually owned the hotel in 1959, the year architects decided the cupola had to be whacked because it couldn't accommodate the rooftop pool and nightclub Hoffa insisted on installing. In Miami money always seems to trump history. CABI Developers, which bought the hotel a couple years ago, also found the edifice a hindrance to its dollar dreams, which involve erecting two 49-story condominium towers, naming them Everglades on the Bay, and then charging ludicrously high prices for them. This time the whole building had to be whacked -- and it was a spectacular hit.