Leonard Hochstein took on the City of Miami Beach and won. But now in a stunning but not unexpected turn of events, Leonard Hochstein has filed a lawsuit against the city of Miami Beach claiming that the city illegally gave the Miami Design Preservation League the right and the power to ask for historic designation on his home. He also claims that because of this pending designation he is unable to get his permits approved and that his constitutional rights are being violated.
The city feels that the case is without merit and will be dismissed.
This latest development is just another dramatic scene in the ongoing soap opera- style saga of 42 Star Island, a faded Walter Degarmo-designed, mansion on Star Island. This all started last year when Leonard and Lisa Hochstein — he a plastic surgeon known as “The Boob God,” and she a cast member of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Miami — bought the house under foreclosure for $7.6 million. They promptly hired local architect Kobi Karp to turn the faded mediterranean revival manse into their dream home complete with ionic columns, parapets, balustrades and garland moldings. Once plans were submitted to the Miami Beach Design Review Board for approval they caught the attention of a member of the MDPL who filed a request to designate the house as historic to help protect it from demolition.
What followed was a tug of war between preservationists and the Hochsteins that played out over three months and had both sides sniping at each other over issues. Lawyers battled, paperwork was misplaced and unfilled, city employees took sides, petitions were created, experts weighed in and the local media took private tours. But, ultimately the Hochsteins came out on top when the Miami Design Review Board granted them the right to bulldoze the 1928 mansion.
So that’s it, you say. Bye, bye to a piece of local history.
Not so says attorney Scott Robbins, “There’s always hope, until the bulldozer knocks down this building.” And he promptly filed an appeal on behalf of The Miami Design Preservation League.
And the Hochsteins? Flush with victory and smiling for local photographers until it dawned that the application for historic designation of their house was still pending. Hence the frustration and the law suit which contends that the actions of MDPL is causing delays on the progress of their home.
Not true says the city as they point out that the Hochsteins lawsuit was filed on March?22 and the MDPL’s appeal was filed four days later on March?26. City officials also point out that regardless of what lawsuits or designations that are pending, the City of Miami Beach has a series of steps in place that have to be met before any demolition permit is approved.