A South Florida hotel that once hosted President John F. Kennedy and The Beatles was demolished Sunday morning (November 13), according to WPLG.
The historic Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach fell into disrepair before permanently closing in 2017 due to a destructive electrical fire and Hurricane Irma. In an engineering report, city inspectors deemed the building "unsafe" and noted it "cannot be saved due to structural defects." Local news broadcasts captured the hotel's implosion during the demolition.
“Of course, I was disappointed in that something has to happen with this site. Otherwise, it’s going to continue as it has for five years to be an eyesore and a drag on the North Beach community,” Mayor Dan Gelber said.
Originally built in 1957, the 17-story hotel hosted the Young Democrats Convention in 1961, where Kennedy spoke to attendants. The Beatles also performed there in 1964 and recorded six songs for The Ed Sullivan Show. Other high-profile celebs performed at the Deauville Hotel, including Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.
Residents gathered around the decaying landmark hours before the demolition, paying their respects to a standing piece of history.
"It kind of shook my heart, my soul a little bit. It was loud and it was strong from a physical standpoint, but also emotional," Daniel Nagler told NBC 6. "We saw some people crying. They could've been crying because it shook so much or they could've been crying because some of the past is now gone."
Gelber said crews spent weeks prepping the hotel for demolition, and cleanup is underway. As for the future of the vacant property, the mayor supported plans for luxury development by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Nothing is set in stone yet.