Watch a 2-Million-Pound Historic Star Island Mansion Move on Wheels

The historic home at 22 Star Island is placed on industrial-grade wheels before being movedEXPAND
The historic home at 22 Star Island is placed on industrial-grade wheels before being moved
Miami Design Preservation League

A 1931 home at 22 Star Island was placed on industrial-grade wheels yesterday, rotated 180 degrees, and moved to the other side of the property, where it will be fully restored. Lennar CEO Stuart Miller owns the home, which was designed by renowned architectural firm Kiehnel & Elliott.

Preservationists cheered as the house was saved, especially because plans circulated in 2014 that showed Miller was preparing to demolish it. After a widely circulated Save Miami Beach petition urged the CEO to preserve the property, he paused the demolition. In 2015, he returned to the Miami Beach Design Review Board with a new plan: to relocate the structure and build a new house next to it.

"This is very good news for preservation," says Daniel Ciraldo of the Miami Design Preservation League. "This is a great part of Miami Beach history. Everyone is very happy. "

The New York-based company in charge of the move, Brownie, specializes in house lifting and moving, and has elevated properties across the United States. 

According to Ciraldo, the process involved inserting a number of steel beams into the base of house and then coordinating hydraulic jacks to lift the home. Once it was lifted, large wheels — similar to those on aircraft — were placed below the structure. All 1.86 million pounds were elevated three feet above the flood plain. 

Ciraldo says the home-raising can serve as a model for other historic properties at risk of damage due to sea-level rise. 

"We've been waiting to see whether old buildings can be elevated," he says. "This is another great example of a home that a lot of people thought was dilapidated. But you see it being jacked up and rotated and twirled. These structures were built tough."  

In addition to restoring the historic property, Miller plans to construct a new waterfront mega-estate. According to Curbed, the home will have "a central courtyard, three staircases, three pools, a ten-car underground garage, two pool houses (the plans call them 'cabanas'), two servants' rooms, a master suite with endless square footage and a sort of bathroom-within-a-bathroom called a wet room, and two kitchens."

Together, the two houses will have about 27,000 square feet of interior space. 


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