On Wednesday, February 26, 1958, one of the many iconic mansions in the Brickell neighborhood was demolished to make room for a $70,000 commercial office building and garden apartment development. The mansion was built by William B Brickell, the oldest son of Bill and Mary Brickell. It was located at 617 Brickell Avenue. It was just south of the First Presbyterian Church.
William Brickell II built the mansion for his family in 1910. The family lived in the mansion for just over ten years. In 1921, the Brickells moved into the apartments built by William at the end of Eighth Street adjacent to Biscayne Bay. William named the building the Bulmer Apartments in honor of his mother. Mary Brickell’s maiden name was Bulmer. It sat across the street from the Brickell Apartments, which was built by his brother, Charles, in 1917.
In an article published on February 27, 1958, the Miami Herald referred to the mansion as a “victim of the downtown expansion that has jumped the Miami River”. An investment group headed by a former Mayor of Miami, Abe Aronovitz, signed a 94 year lease for $21,000 per year for the land. The lease accounted for a lot that was 131 feet wide on Brickell Avenue and 700 feet deep to Biscayne Bay.
The Claughton family owned the property in 1958. The Claughtons had many real estate investments in Miami at the time, including the location of today’s Brickell Key on Claughton Island. Lillian and Edward Jr. were lessors named in the lease agreement.
The Aronovitz team hired Architect Henry Hohauser to design the office and apartment buildings. The plans called for an 11,000 square foot office building and three 20-unit apartment houses. Each of the apartments were two stories. The design also called for a pool and recreation area to be built along the bay at the back of the lot.
Today, the land that the Brickell mansion once resided is the Bank of America tower at 701 Brickell Avenue. Although the address was slightly modified, it is still the same plot of land where William Brickell’s mansion once stood. The tower was built in 1986, so the Hohauser designed buildings lasted for less than thirty years.
Given development cycles in Miami, it won’t be long before the Bank of America tower will be earmarked for something bigger and newer. One can only wonder what is next for the lot at 701 Brickell Avenue.Click Here to Subscribe
Read more information at Miami Herald, “Brickell Mansion Being Razed”, February 27, 1958 by Frederic Sherman.