The Miami Herald unwittingly marred a historically designated Art Deco building owned by its corporate parent by painting its limestone veneer, Miami's historic preservation office says.
The building had been painted by a previous owner -- before winning historic designation -- and was repainted most recently at the direction of a city code-enforcement officer.
Herald parent The McClatchy Co. owns the Boulevard Shops, a 1930 landmark on Biscayne Boulevard declared historic by the city in 2003, in part for its "distinctive'' architectural features -- including the oolitic limestone veneer that covers the three-story building.
Last year, the company was cited by a city code-enforcement officer for poor maintenance of the building's exterior. The officer told Herald director of operations and facilities Gus Perez that the building, which is vacant, needed paint. To comply, Perez said, he had it painted in beige and light green to blend in with the Arsht Center across the street.
But that only created more problems: First, The Herald did not seek approval from the city's preservation office for exterior work on a historic building, as required by law. Perez said the code-enforcement office never told him he needed to.
And second, applying paint to limestone is a no-no, especially on a historic building, because it can damage the rock facing and obscures the holes and imperfections that give the rough material its special character, said Ellen Uguccioni, the city's preservation officer.
Earlier this year, the preservation office cited The Herald. The preservation board then ordered the company to attempt several commercial methods for removing the paint. But those failed, and other options would have only caused more damage.
On Tuesday, frustrated board members gave up, saying the city will have to live with the paint.
Uguccioni acknowledged the mishap is only the latest example of a problem that has cropped up before, because code enforcement does not notify the preservation office when it cites a historic building for violations...