Star Island's most notorious residents have won the latest battle in their war to tear down a mansion they own on the island in order to build their dream home. The Miami Beach City Commission voted today not to designate the 1925 home as historic.
Leonard and Lisa Hochstein received permission to tear down the home last March, but the Miami Design Preservation League stepped in and began proceedings to have the home protected under historic status.
The saga has partially played out on The Real Housewives of Miami, of which Mrs. Hochstein is a cast member. Her husband, Leonard, is a well-known plastic surgeon known for his specialty in breast augmentation, earning him the nickname "Boob God."
The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board had sided in favor of the Preservation League, but the planning board, city administration, and now the city commission have sided with the Hochsteins. The commission voted unanimously against protecting the existing home.
The Preservation League, however, has filed a lawsuit challenging the city's approval of demolishing the home. The ultimate fate of the hosue could hinge on the outcome of that suit.
The Hochsteins have long argued that the home had not been maintained by its previous owners and is beyond repair.
"We then went to the City of Miami Beach to get permission to demolish the home and build a new one," Mrs. Hochstein wrote on a Bravotv.com blog last August. "It was at this time a group of preservationist decided to take advantage of this situation. They wanted free publicity by opposing us in an attempt to designate our home as a historic site in Miami Beach, which is something that has never been done in the history of Miami Beach to single-family home.
"It seems very strange to us that they never cared about this home in the past while it was allowed to deteriorate. They also didn't take much interest in the other homes that were demolished before or after."
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The Preservation League states that 24 single-family homes have been designated historic in Miami Beach, but usually through the owners' wishes.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Munzenrieder.