The Dade-Commonwealth Building, also known as the Meyer-Kiser Building, was built in 1925. Its construction came during a downtown building frenzy amidst the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s. The Commercial style building originally had seventeen stories, before a devastating hurricane in 1926 reduced the number to seven. For years some of the building's most prominent tenants were banks, including the Meyer-Kiser Bank of Indianapolis. It received its current name in 1944 when the Dade-Commonwealth Title and Abstract Co. occupied the ground floor. In 2015, the Dade-Commonwealth Building was purchased by a group of investors who plan to rebuild the additional ten stories and convert the structure into a hotel.
The City of Miami
entered a building frenzy during the 1920s, when the Florida Land Boom caused
the population to swell and investments to skyrocket. Skyscrapers first came to
Miami in 1925, when the city eliminated its ten-story height restriction.
Construction of one seventeen-story building was financed by the Meyer-Kiser
Bank. The Indianapolis-based bank was founded by cousins Sol Meyer and Sol S.
Kiser in 1906. In 1925, they decided to expand to Miami and provided $1,500,000
to build the structure that would be named the Meyer-Kiser Building.
Building was designed in the Commercial style of architecture by Martin L.
Hampton. Hampton was notable for creating multiple structures in Florida and
Hollywood such as the Congress Building, the Biltmore Hotel, and the old Miami
Beach City Hall. The seventeen-story Meyer-Kiser was one of the earliest
skyscrapers to be built with a steel frame. Construction began in 1925 and was
completed in December that same year. Less than a year later, on September 18,
1926, Miami was hit by a devastating hurricane. Much of the city was destroyed,
while the Meyer-Kiser was badly damaged. Thankfully the building had been
insured for wind damage, one of the few in Miami to do so. The building
received a $675,000 damage payment, the largest in Florida’s history at the
time. The decision was made to only repair the first seven stories and demolish
the remaining ten; the hurricane had plunged Miami into an economic tailspin,
and seventeen stories were not needed.
The original tenant of
the Meyer-Kiser Building was the Meyer-Kiser Bank itself. The bank fell on hard
times however, and folded during the stock market crash in 1929. The next major
tenant was the American National Bank, which occupied the building in 1936. By
1944 the bank had been absorbed into First National Bank, and the
Dade-Commonwealth Title and Abstract Company took its place on the ground
floor. It was at this time that the Meyer-Kiser Building was renamed the
Dade-Commonwealth Building, the name that continues to be used to this day.
Throughout the following years, the building went through a series of tenants
and interior renovations. In 2015, the building was purchased for $9.2 million
by Dream Downtown LLC, a joint venture between Immocorp Capital and Beekman
REIM. The company has announced that it will rebuild the additional ten stories
on the Dade-Commonwealth Building, and convert it into a 169-room hotel.