The Restoration of Al Capone's Miami Beach Mansion
Prohibition is dead, gone, and if this blog is any indication, ain't coming back (thank God). But the former home of Al Capone, the Prohibition era’s most notorious bootlegger, was recently resurrected.
Al Capone’s 1922 Miami Beach mansion was bought by architecture firm MB America back in April 2014 for a cool $8 million -- actually not that bad of a price! -- and has largely been restored to its former glory.
The Colonial/Neoclassical hybrid property on Miami Beach’s Palm Island waterfront was built in 1922 and bought by Capone in ’28 for $40,000. The 6,000-foot main villa is accompanied by a two-story cabana on the property’s waterfront and a gatehouse on the street, as Capone wanted protection from both directions. The notorious gangster passed away in the gatehouse’s second-floor master bedroom in 1947.
The property also includes a pond with a lighthouse and a bridge made of red coral –- because why not, right?
Restoration work started in December 2014 and will finish early this summer, in time for Miami Beach’s centennial celebration. The total price tag will be somewhere in the $2 million range.
Work on the main house started from the bottom -- it took 10 days to pump water out from around the structure’s support pylons. Efforts then moved to the first floor where the layout and spaces were kept intact. Of special importance was refurbishing the house’s original light fixtures and its first-floor bathroom, complete with tiles, toilet, and sink from the Capone era.
Another critical point of the restoration, according to MB America, was to find a balance between bringing the structures up to modern building codes and respecting the site’s history, flavor, and look -- inside and out.
MB America went to great lengths to preserve the property’s historic landscaping. To avoid the impact of heavy machinery on the grounds, much of the restoration work was done by hand.
The site’s original pool -- once one of the largest in South Florida -- also remains, though its water level no longer rises and falls with the tide.
A few items still remain on the to-do list, including the reconstruction of what was once a large dock servicing the property. Once the finishing touches are complete, the house and grounds, now known as 93 Palm, will be leased out for photo shoots and film productions.
Given its new use, my only question is ... Where was this restoration back in 1998?!