Americaribe is winding up the renovation of the north tower of Flamingo South Beach, an iconic residential complex in Miami Beach. A first in the United States for Bouygues Bâtiment International.
By Grâce Noyal
An ambitious project and many challenges to overcome
Miami Beach, famous for its Art Deco architecture, cafés, beaches, and party atmo-sphere with a salsa beat. The iconic Flamingo South Beach apartment tower overlooking the bay is recovering its former splendor.
The project is the major renovation of the north tower of a complex constructed in 1962. The 14 story building is shaped like an airplane propellor, with the three “blades” having a surface area of 86,000 sq. meters and containing 614 apartments in a com-plex having some 1,000 units.
Aimco, the project owner, quickly understood we could bring added value because of the technical expertise we’ve acquired in numerous complex reno-vations like this one elsewhere in the world.
executive VP preconstruction for North America
Americaribe is carrying out the project in a joint venture with a local company, Gryon, with Americaribe having a 75% majority interest.
“This is the first time we are the majority partner in a project,” says Bilaine. “Having a local partner helped us to understand the procedures here, which are highly regulated. And to hire subcon-tractors and deal with other issues. Though since our first project, which we delivered in 2016, we are now starting to have a better grasp of the ins and outs of the Miami market.”
The location in the middle of an area with many walking streets and bicycle lanes has made the work very difficult, particular interms of phasing and logistics.
Story apartment building
The project executive Chris Van Rooyen, adds that“the big challenge in this project, as in many renovations, was to deliver on time with no cost overruns. Especially because the worksite was located between two other inhabited towers, meaning we could work only from seven until five during the day to avoid disturbing people.
Another challenge was the health crisis. “We took stronger measures and did more PCR tests on site as we absolutely wanted to avoid having to halt work. During the lockdown, we also had to manage relations with neighborhood residents, who were stuck at home.”
A complex renovation with staggered delivery
gutting the building
A subcontractor did the extensive demoli-tion work inside the tower. Everything to do with the architectural trades, the technical ducts, flooring… it was all torn out to lay bare the structure, and all the installations were replaced according to the highest technical standards. Along the way, corroded elements and the façades were repaired too.
For the first in the United States for Americaribe, they used BIM (Building Information Modeling). “Once the structure was exposed, we did a 3D scan of the entire building, since the plans we had dated from the original construction of the complex and they were not always perfectly accurate,” notes Arranz, adding, “we’ve avoided a lot of hassles that way.”
The main goal of the renovation was to modify the layouts and enlarge the apartments so they could be rented to a more well-to-do clientele. The result? Much bigger apartments in the tower with top quality finishings. The number of apartments in the tower thus went from 614 to 366, including 22 pent-houses with a view over the bay. “Creating this new layout required more demolition to open stairwells and double ceiling heights so that we could put in large windows with beautiful views. As a result, the structure had to be reinforced at the same time,” explains design coordinator Natalia Arranz.
The final difficulty was the project owner’s requirement that the apartments be delivered in stages so that it could beging renting them quickly. “We had to make seven partial deliveries”, explains Donald Altieri, mechanical and electrical super intendent. “We are delivering two or three floors every 30 days until February 2022. The first was on September 11, 2021, at ten in the morning. At eleven o’clock, the first tenants moved in! That means people are living on the lower floors above them.”
Swimming pools, green spaces, fitness centers, and cafés roud out this renovation, which will make thi entire neighborhood in Miami Beach a great place to live again.