It’s not every day that the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board endorses the demolition of a building on the city’s pedestrian-only retail juggernaut, Lincoln Road, but Nike is not your average retailer.
Nike’s plans to demolish a large one-story domed building that straddles the corner of Lenox and Lincoln Road — that has largely been derided as an eyesore since it was built in 1999 — got approval from the board after a presentation from design powerhouse firm Touzet Studio late Tuesday.
The Miami firm unveiled plans for a roughly 30,000-square-foot multistory building incorporating design elements inspired by iconic Morris Lapidus buildings in Miami Beach that used concrete screen fronts, which the late architect affectionately called “cheeseholes.” In the case of the Nike store, the screens made out of high-performance Ductal concrete will cover the front of the store and change colors, or shading, as the sun passes across the building.
The new building will replace a 1999 structure that was built after the 1925 Moorish Revival McAllister building that occupied the corner was ordered torn down by the city, following a 1998 renovation that found it to be structurally unsound.
Jacqueline Touzet says Nike designers have been closely involved in the project and the company views the building as a high-profile project. The new building will have an open roof space with a running track and basketball court where customers can try out their brand new Nike LeBron’s. Carlos Touzet says the area can double as an event space but that Nike plans to limit events to about six a year.
Board members largely supported the project, saying they had no issues with any design elements, but they called for a seven-foot height reduction. Carlos Touzet said the project is within the 50-foot height limit set for the Beach’s historic district. He said while the structure will be a building for a large corporation it is emphatically not a “corporate building.”
Daniel Ciraldo, a historic preservation officer with the Miami Design Preservation League, which is not affiliated with the city’s Historic Preservation Board, said the league is not opposed to the demolition. But he said the building should be scaled back somewhat, as the corner serves as the entryway to the historic district.
The once-sleepy corner of Lenox and Lincoln Road is sure to become a global retail destination once the store is built. Right next door to the new Nike store will be the location of Apple’s new Lincoln Road store. As board member and longtime historic preservation activist Jane Gross noted near the conclusion of the hearing, “we’re going corporate and we’re leaving our tropical past behind.”
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