Reviving a ‘50s 4-plex on Holiday Park
text John T. O’Connor
There was a time in Florida’s history when big was not necessarily better. A time in the 1950s and 60s when folks from the frigid North would pack the Plymouth Satellite and head down the open road or take one of National or Northeast Airlines DC6 jets from Chicago or Washington to their getaway in Sunny Florida. While sometimes that getaway meant say, a house in Coral Ridge, often times it meant an ef- ficient co-op or apartment perfect for anything from a month to the full, 5-month “snowbird” season.
In this drone shot taken from directly above the courtyard shows the finished courtyard with plunge pool, the restored bridge, now serving as two, separate parkview decks, as well as the lawn facing Holiday Park.
Fort Lauderdale was a frenzy of building during that time, and neighborhoods specifically zoned for them saw a great number of multi- family developments built. Usually just one or two-stories, they have made today’s developers who live by the “best and highest use” mantra absolutely salivate. Apparently –– and sometimes unfortunately –– a little development of say, four or five apartments on one or two floors can –– depending on local zoning –– be demolished to make way for four or five townhouses of three or even four stories crammed onto a site. For developers, it’s hard to see beyond turning, say, 1,600 total square feet of saleable interior space into a lucrative 8,000 square feet.
Which is why we were so excited to come upon an owner/developer who could see the past decades of deferred maintenance and revive one of these special buildings that overlooks Holiday Park. Owner Adam Slone, by his own admission a fan of Mid-Century Modern design, brought this four-apartment complex back to life in a full renovation that is clean and timeless. The gut renovation, which included everything down to windows, doors, hardware, electrical and plumbing, pays homage to its original design, yet frees the residential building to become exactly what it wants to be in 2021.
This fourplex on the Park is a textbook example of design from the mid-century era. On its exterior are “floating” staircases, brought to you by way of steel-reinforced concrete. Born in the Industrial Revolution the creativity of this material reached its zenith in Mid-Century Modern’s catwalks, folded plate roofs, eyebrows and biomorphic shapes. For this Victoria Park complex, Slone was careful to restore what needed to be kept, like the simple, open steel railings on staircases. Where elements of the house needed replacing, he was vigilant
to choose designs and materials that paid attention to the building’s era. Case in point: Slone swapped out the windows and exterior doors in all four units, selecting operable, impact glass windows with a finish that emulates the brushed aluminum of the originals. While interior walls and trim are universally white, matte-finish, large format floor tile is a neutral, warm grey porcelain. As all of the units now have an open floor plan with kitchen and breakfast bar open to living and dining, countertops are of engineered quartz in a coordinating tone and finish.
To give the complex the outdoor amenities it deserved without going overboard, Slone had a plunge pool added to the courtyard between the two buildings and in a wide expanse of grassy lawn between the structures and Holiday Park, he added a 12-foot circle of pea gravel where guests slink back at night in Adirondack chairs to enjoy the peace and quiet punctuated by crackling logs in the fire pit.
Placed on the market with Tim Singer & Associates as a fourplex, the property was under agreement in seconds. It’s no wonder why. With Slone’s eagle eye for good design, and his unerring sense of what this building was crying out for, he developed a dream.