On February 19, 1940, the Mayor of Miami Beach, John H. Levi, appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. Levi was the man who was responsible for bringing Carl Fisher to South Florida. Levi was invited by Fisher to join him on a journey in the Yacht that he sold to him in 1909. This trip led to a life-long friendship between the two men and further ensured Levi’s role in the development of Miami Beach.
John Levi served as Mayor of Miami Beach from June of 1937 until June of 1941. After a three-year hiatus out of office, Levi once again served as mayor for another term beginning in June of 1944.
The Time Magazine article was a profile piece that described Miami Beach as a carefully planned and managed location for the wealthy and Mayor Levi as an astute politician who, along with his city commission, carefully crafted the politics of Miami Beach. He was quoted in the article describing himself as:
“They say Carl Fisher was the father of the beach, and that I am the son of the beach.”
John Levi was back in the news in the spring of 2015 during a preservation campaign to save his former home at 44 East Star Island Drive. The home was acquired by Shay Kostiner, managing director of Fifth Ave Capital Partners, for $7.25 million in 2010. Kostiner plan was to raze Levi’s former residence, which was constructed in 1935, and replace it with a 27,000 square foot residence.
Despite the preservation fight, along with an idea that the home could be preserved by moving it to a different location, Levi’s former residence was demolished and the lot now sits empty (as of February 2023). Despite Kostiner’s ambitious plans for a new home, he ended up selling the empty lot for $10 million on May 29, 2020.Click Here to Subscribe
Read more about John Levi at: ‘Carl Fisher Discovers Miami Beach’ on Miami-History.com