No more ‘concrete boxes’: Effort to stop demolition of Phil Collins’ former home

Say goodbye to Phil Collins’ former Miami Beach residence? One leading preservationist says absolutely not.

Efforts are ongoing to preserve the Mediterranean-style waterfront residence at 5800 North Bay Road, said Jack Finglass, the chair of the Miami Beach historic preservation board.

Finglass, who spoke to the Miami Herald as a North Bay Road resident who lives walking distance from the home and who was expressing his personal opinion, said preserving Collins’ former house and others like it are critical to Miami Beach. Finglass said he often sees buses drive down North Bay Road full with tourists eager to learn the history of former celebrity and historic dwellings.

“What developers are building now are huge concrete boxes,” Finglass said. “It’s going to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs. People don’t come here to see concrete boxes. They come to see beautiful architecture, palms and gardens. That’s what they’ve come to see for hundreds of years.”

The new owners of Collins’ former home, billionaire Orlando Bravo, co-founder and managing partner of the Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo, and his wife, Katy, have submitted plans to replace the existing residence with a modern home, according to an application submitted to the City of Miami Beach Design Review Board.

A spokesperson for Bravo said in a statement Monday, “The family’s team has followed the Miami Beach design review process, evaluated the existing home and alternatives to demolition, and has submitted plans that comply with the city’s design review criteria. As a result, the family has earned a favorable staff recommendation from the city’s professional design review staff, as well as support within the neighborhood.”

Plans will be presented this month to the Design Review Board.

The Bravo family bought the house in January for $40 million after Collins removed his ex-wife from the residence with a court injunction and listed it in late 2020.

The new planned residence would include five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a dining room, family room, living room, playroom, cinema and bar in a 2-story main house. It would replace the existing two-story house — dating back to 1929 — which has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, one half bathroom, a pool, koi pond and dock.

Sources close to the Bravo family told the Herald in August that the couple intended to build the new residence because the existing home suffered from serious flooding. But Finglass said that’s no excuse.

“Seawalls are built that keep water out. Buildings can be raised. The city can have better pumps to redirect water elsewhere,” said Finglass, who hopes to connect with other nearby residents who also want to save the home. “If they are so concerned about water issues, why are they building a house in the same spot?”

Finglass said he would tell the Bravo family that they should collaborate on a new design guided by the Miami Beach historic preservation board that can help safeguard the existing structure.

“The postcard view,” Finglass said, “that’s what we’re trying to save from the development community. We need to have our voice heard. We want to save what we’ve got.”