A Miami Beach board meeting heated up when a dispute between developer Vlad Doronin and his billionaire neighbor, Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera, spread publicly.
Doronin, through his attorney, objected to his Star Island neighbor’s plans for an approximately 28,000-square-foot waterfront mansion at the Miami Beach Board of Adjustments meeting on Friday morning.
Pera, founder of Ubiquiti Networks and president of the NBA team, was looking for a number of variations for the 1.9-acre property in 23 Star Island Drive that Pera bought from Lennar Company founder Stuart Miller for $ 25 million in 2019.
Doronin, the developer behind one Residences in Brickell and the Safe hotel and condo in Miami Beach owns neighboring 26 Star Island home, which he bought from basketball player Shaquille O’Neal for $ 16 million in 2009.
Pera looked for six variations for his future mansion designed by local architecture firm Choeff Levy Fischman, including a 31-foot height variation where the height is limited to 28 feet. That would have allowed Pera to build a “professional-grade indoor basketball court,” according to his attorney, Tracy Slavens.
“This is a hobby of the owner. He likes to play all the time, ”Slavens said.
Other requests from Pera included the right to build an elevator bulkhead exceeding 13 feet above the roof line where only 10 feet high is allowed, a 10-foot high perimeter wall where seven feet are allowed, and a platform. ceiling less than 10 feet. feet away from an exterior wall.
Slavens argued that such variations are commonly sought after by new home builders on Star Island due to the unusual shape of the properties.
As for the elevator bulkhead, Slavens said it is necessary to power an elevator strong enough to carry furniture and Pera’s father, who has “mobility issues.” Slaven added that the elevator bulkhead of a recently completed home in 22 Star Island it is also 31 feet above the roof line.
But Doronin’s attorney, former Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin, said the variations Pera was seeking violated his client’s privacy rights. The elevator bulkhead and roof deck are on the south side of Pera’s house, overlooking the Doronin family residence, and the variations wouldn’t be necessary if it weren’t for the change in height that Pera desired for their indoor basketball court, Kasdin charged.
Kasdin further charged that Pera’s desired mansion was not really a home, but a professional basketball complex within a residential neighborhood.
“This looks, smells and squawks like a professional basketball facility,” Kasdin said, claiming that Pera’s home design includes 12 lockers and only three bedrooms. Kasdin said Pera’s future home will be able to “host an entire basketball team and their entourage,” as well as rooftop parties.
“We have made several attempts through the owner’s attorney … to contact and reach out to the owner to discuss what they are looking for. [to build] and see if there is a way to mitigate or modify it, ”said Kasdin. But Pera has refused to meet with Doronin, Kasdin said.
Slavens, who insisted that Pera’s future home has seven bedrooms, said Doronin has threatened to sue Pera if he did not comply with the developers’ demands. “He [Doronin] he has tried to redesign this house to his personal whims, ”Slavens said, including how Pera should landscape his property, design his driveway or locate his pool equipment.
At one point, when Pera’s team used a drone to search his property, Doronin’s security personnel came out and “threatened us,” Slavens said.
“There came a point where we felt that any negotiation was not a negotiation at all, but strong weaponry,” Slavens told the board. “This is a pattern of behavior. He [Doronin] he wants what he wants and gets what he wants. “
The slaves also felt that it was hypocritical to object to Pera’s variations, when Doronin received his own variations needed to build the 221-foot tall Arman brand tower.
Kasdin opposed the slave attacks, especially the Doronin project. “My client is creating one of the most beautiful and important projects in the city of Miami Beach,” said Kasdin. “He must be thanked.”
Slavens withdrew applications related to the 31-foot height variation, roof terrace and perimeter wall on behalf of its client.
“We are doing this to avoid a fight with the neighbor,” he said.
However, Slavens insisted that the 31-foot elevator’s upper bulkhead was needed and promised that it would be protected by a “green wall.” Slavens also requested a variation that would allow for an FPL substation on the property and an 11-foot-long balcony. As a precondition for variations, the city will require Pera to plant vegetation south of the property.
Ignoring Kasdin’s objections to the elevator, the board unanimously approved the variations for the bulkhead elevator and the FPL substation. The variation for the balcony, which faces Pera’s property, was approved by a 5-2 vote.