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Hollywood approves downtown demolition, paving way for mixed-use apartment project

Hollywood founder Joseph Young built the building for city’s first bank

Robert Suris and a rendering of the project

Hollywood commissioners approved the demolition of a 93-year-old building to clear a downtown site for Soleste Hollywood Boulevard, an eight-story, mixed-use development with 347 residential units.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to reject an advisory board’s recommendation against demolishing the three-story building at 2001 Hollywood Boulevard, which opened in 1927 as the home of Hollywood’s first bank.

The developers’ plans to preserve a vintage bank vault on the ground floor apparently swayed commissioners, who considered preserving the entire building, which the city’s Architectural Preservation Board recommended in July.

Soleste Hollywood Boulevard would include a 233-unit building and a 114-unit building, 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 475 parking spaces. The floorplans range from studios to one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.

The lead developers are Robert Suris, managing principal of The Estate Companies, based in South Miami, and Steven B. Berman, chief executive officer of Hollywood-based FIRM Realty.

In 2009, Berman paid $7.1 million for the 3.38-acre development site, a commercial building at 2001 Hollywood Boulevard and adjacent parking lots.

Berman signed a conditional contract to sell the site to The Estate Companies if the city approved demolition of the building, Debbie Orshefsky, an attorney for the developers, told city commissioners at their meeting Wednesday night.

The Estate Companies is a residential developer that markets projects under the Soleste brand. Now under construction is Soleste Grand Central, near the Brightline train station in downtown Miami. The 18-story, 60-unit multifamily tower at 218 Northwest Eighth Street is scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2021, according to the developer. The firm has completed projects in West Miami, Miami Beach, Brickell and Little Havana.

City of Hollywood Records and Archives

Miami-based Modis Architects designed Soleste Hollywood Boulevard in an Art Moderne style incorporating such details as steel columns, mesh railings and aluminum storefronts.

The original Neo-Classical architectural features of the bank building at 2001 Hollywood Boulevard disappeared following three major renovations in the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s, according to a city staff report. It’s within the Hollywood Boulevard Historic Business District, a section of the city’s central business district that was listed in 1999 on the National Register of Historic Places.

“None of us would be having this conversation if the 1920s façade were there,” Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said during the city commission’s five-hour discussion of the issue Wednesday night.

Levy expressed support for preserving the vault “in perpetuity.”

The concrete-encased vault is a vestige of the original building, which opened as the First National Bank of Hollywood. Hollywood founder Joseph Young built the three-story structure and had his office there.

The developers of Soleste Hollywood Boulevard plan to build a museum-themed restaurant that incorporates the 80-square-foot vault. “We’re creating an environment around that vault,” Suris told the commission.


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