Photo: A postcard of the Dania Beach Hotel, circa 1930s.
The Dania Beach Hotel was built in 1925, during the Florida land boom, and was designed by renowned architect Francis Abreu. He is best known for his architectural style of using barrel tile roofs, twisted columns, arched walk-ways, antique lanterns, iron gates and heavy dark wooden doors. It’s also interesting to note that the hotel survived through the devastating “Miami” hurricane of 1926, which had caused $157 million worth in damages, which estimates to about $1.7 billion today.
During it’s heyday, it was a popular destination for tourists heading to the beach, the surrounding Downtown area, and the Dania Beach Jai-Alai across the street, with some stories even claiming that Al Capone once stayed here.
Photo(Bullet, 2011): The historic hotel has been boarded up ever since vagrants were found living inside after it’s closing.
In 2000, the property was granted historic designation by the city. As years passed though, the condition of the hotel deteriorated and the owners were given numerous citations for failing to maintain the property. The hotel’s condition worsened until it was declared unsafe and forced to close in 2005. The 40 tenants living there at the time were evicted, most of which were single men, some with mental illnesses, who scrapped by on low-paying jobs.
The city forced the owners to board up the building after squatters were found living inside. For years, city officials have wanted to bulldoze the surrounding neighborhood, where drug dealers and muggers loved hanging out at. The owners, hoping to sell the property to potential developers, have racked up more than $72,000 in code enforcement fines since it closed.
Photo(Bullet, 2011): The main lobby exhibited heavy squatting activity, as soiled clothing, garbage and feces were littered across the floor.
In early 2009, the City Commission agreed to waive the outstanding code enforcement fines under the condition that the owner demolishes the structure within 90 days. Demolition costs were initially projected to cost $40,000, but increased to an estimated $110,000 after asbestos was found inside the building. Not being able to adhere to the conditions, the city requested a foreclosure on the property in an attempt to recover the outstanding lien.
On July 2011, the Pirate’s Inn hotel, located just down the street, was demolished in an attempt to restore the downtown area and to build something new in it’s place. Built in 1939, it was a historic landmark for some residents, an eyesore for many others. The Dania Beach Hotel was slated for demolition soon after.
As of February 2012, the Dania Beach Hotel has been demolished.