Venditti's photographs show the once sleek and modern Motor Lodge
in its last days as a Howard Johnson. Even as the Restaurant had
lost the Howard Johnson name, it managed to keep its trademark
Orange Roof. Having become The Port of Miami Hotel by my February,
2004 visit, I did not know at the time that the site was doomed.
December of 2003, Shaya Boymelgreen, a big-time Brooklyn, New
York based real estate/developer tycoon, had visited Miami and
met the city's mayor at a menorah lighting ceremony. The two apparently
"hit it off," and before anyone could wish his neighbor
a Happy Hanukkah, a $1.5 billion Miami redevelopment deal had
been penned. The Tel-Aviv, Israel based Africa-Isreal Investment
and Development Group and Boymelgreen partnered to build six mega-projects
in the downtown Miami area. The Howard Johnson's at 1100 Biscayne
Boulevard would be their first victim.
upscale for its time, the Howard Johnson's was marketed to average
income Americans--it purpose was to serve middle America. Imploded
August 14, 2005, the site will become a place for the wealthy.
Called the Marquis, it will be a 60+ story luxury condominium
tower slated to include 334 residential units starting at $750,000
and a 40 unit boutique hotel. Perversely, the Restaurant had been
remodeled into the project's sales center back in February of
2005. With gross excess, the place was renovated at a cost of
more than $1 million--zebra wood, and a $60,000 marble floor were
highlights of its conspicuous consumption. The Restaurant building,
having had its million-dollar makeover, was demolished along with
the Motor Lodge.