Award Type: Honor Award
Built in 1923 in the Classic Revival style, the Royalton Hotel was once an opulent, elegant hideaway in the heart of Miami’s Central Business District. Eight decades later, the hotel had become a rundown, faded eyesore—that is until a local developer teamed with a nonprofit housing group to create magic in Magic City.
Carlisle Development and Carrfour Supportive Housing joined forces in 2004 to acquire and renovate the Royalton as a 100-unit affordable housing project for very-low and low-income residents and the formerly homeless. From the start, the project presented a number of challenges, including a complicated financing package and continued delays because of unforeseen structural deficiencies. In addition, several hurricanes during 2005 and 2006 presented additional setbacks.
Yet the partners persevered, bringing the building back to life with re-created period details, energy-saving systems and facilities to meet residents’ needs and guide them to a better life. The restoration was so historically accurate that the new terrazzo floor is an identical match of the original’s color and texture. Completed in 2008, the historic renovation of the Royalton restored the building to its 1920s grandeur, while offering state-of-the-art amenities including wireless Internet and energy saving upgrades.
“Congratulations to Carlisle Development and Carrfour Supportive Housing for a truly innovative and much-needed preservation project,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Thanks to their efforts the Royalton is, once again, a bright spot in a downtown historic district. For 100 of the city’s neediest citizens, it is something even more important: it is home.”