Arquitectonica's Iconic Babylon Towers Declared Unsafe, at Risk of Being Replaced by Condos

Gridics Staff January 20, 2016 Architecture & Design, Development Pipeline, Historic Preservation

The Babylon Towers, an iconic pair of postmodernist ziggurats on Brickell Bay Drive designed by Arquitectonica in the late '70s/ early '80s could be demolished and replaced by a condo tower with up to 184 units, if its owners, Babylon International, get their way.

Declared an unsafe structure by the City of Miami on October 28th, Babylon International was given 300 days to demolish or repair the 34 (Possibly 38. See below) year old complex, a decision following which Babylon quickly applied for a zoning adjustment to be able to build much more density on the site than is now allowed.

The current buildings are eight stories, with a total of fourteen units. Bright red facades face outwards, with balconies on the long sides and a courtyard with a pool in the center. Although Miami-Dade Property Records list construction in 1982, other sources list a construction date of 1977 or '78. Either way, the whole place is very Miami Vice. Although zoning staff said that the site was mistakenly not zoned for higher density when the Miami 21 zoning code was written and the site is now surrounded by much higher density buildings, the planning, zoning and appeals board (warning: PDF) recommended denial of the requested zoning change at its January 6th meeting. Only a recommendation however, it's now up to the City Commission, which has not yet heard the issue, to make the final call. So, we'll see what happens with that.

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