"Real Housewives" couple face mansion renovation difficulties
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida reality TV couple hoping to renovate a mansion are facing some real-life drama.
Dr. Leonard Hochstein and Lisa Hochstein, who are featured in the Bravo series The Real Housewives of Miami, are hoping to renovate their dream home mansion, but are facing some obstacles.
The couple plans to tear down their 1920s mansion, which is located on the southeastern part of Star Island in Miami Beach. "There is no going back, and we are going to do whatever we can to make it the house of our dreams," said Lisa.
The home design has to be approved by Miami Beach's Design Review Board along with the Design Preservations League. The latter organization wants to deem the mansion historical, which would stop the Hochsteins from tearing it down. "This is an auspicious home from 1925. We believe it can be saved," said Design Preservation League's Kent Harrison Robbins. "We believe that the proper engineers will be able to save it, and at less than half the cost they clam it would cost to restore it."
While one group wants to preserve the 1920 Walter DeGarmo mansion, the Hochsteins said the 20,000 square foot mansion is uninhabitable. "The house has cloth electricity located at 30 inches below flood [level]. There is no plumbing to the second floor, and according to the court samples which the DRB asked us to get, prove that this house is not structurally sound," said Leonard.
The preservationists are trying to keep Miami Beach's history alive and said they will continue to fight.
While no progress was made this month, the Hochsteins said they are not ready to give up on their dream home. "This is something that we are invested in, not [only] financially but also emotionally," said Leonard. "This is where we want to build our home. We love the property and we want to live there. Our neighbors want us there."
The next meeting is scheduled for March.
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