South Beach, Fla. is sprucing up its historic district with a new twist: to preserve the character of its downtown, the city has welcomed a development that integrates a 1954 apartment complex with contemporary architecture.

Coving Development began transforming Montclair Lofts from an old apartment complex in 2001, and completed the project at the end of last year. The complex is made up of three, five-story buildings, with 41 units totaling 83,000 sq. ft. Units in the upscale loft project range from $600,000 to $1 million, which includes a rooftop pool area.

To overcome the municipal zoning constraints and to maximize the saleable area, Oppenheim Architecture + Design planned the project to blend elements of the existing structure with new buildings in the area.

The historic building serves as the entry zone for the rest of the building. However, the tone changes quickly as visitors enter the main lobby through a ramped portal.

The new construction wraps around the existing post-war building, and creates an open central courtyard on its roof with an infinity pool and public spaces.

“The project in the end successfully addressed everyone's concerns from preservationists, to city planners, and the developer,” says Chad Oppenheim, principal of the architectural firm that designed the project.

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