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Vagabond

Renovations to the Vagabond Hotel

The Vagabond Motel's retro sign on Biscayne Boulevard

Away from Miami Beach on the mainland of Miami, Biscayne Boulevard has a rich concentration of post-war motels dating from 1923 to 1965. Recognizing its value as a tangible record of Miami's growth and development, the city designated both sides of Biscayne Boulevard from 50th Street to 77th Street as a historic district.

The historic designation protects the many retail shops, motels, office buildings, places of worship and few remaining residential properties that capture the spirit and identity of the pre-war and post-war architectural period.

The Vagabond Motel is one representative of the Resort Modern style that once dominated this stretch of Biscayne Boulevard. The Vagabond is historically linked to a time when automobile-fueled tourism bourgeoned in South Florida. Biscayne Boulevard linked up with US-1, the thoroughfare connecting Key West to Maine, and "motor hotels" or "motels" were designed with large parking lots and rows of rooms catering to drivers.

The hotel, a City of Miami Historic Landmark, is currently being renovated by the architectural firm specializing in historic preservation, Shulman + Associates. The Vagabond has 53 units and was designed by B. Robert Swartburg in 1953. Swartburg also designed the Delano Hotel on South Beach.

Recently, planning sessions have worked to reinvigorate this area of Biscayne Boulevard known as the Upper East Side which fell into economic decline and urban decay throughout the 1970s. The historic designation report presented to the city of Miami in June 2006 listed the stability of surrounding neighborhoods and tax exemptions for rehabilitation as incentives for designation.

External Links

Article in 944 Magazine about renovations to the Vagabond
Shulman+Associates architecture firm