Demolition plan for Al Capone’s mansion in Miami sparks debate

The possible demolition of a mansion that belonged to the mobster Al Capone on Palm Island, in Miami, in the United States, is generating debates about whether the site should be preserved as part of the country’s history or if it should be destroyed.

The house, located at number 93 on Palm Ave, was bought by the criminal in 1928 – six years after its construction – for US$ 40 thousand (R$ 212.4 thousand at the current price) and served as a refuge during the period that was at large. After serving a sentence for tax evasion, it was also the place where he spent the rest of his life until he died of a heart attack in 1947 in one of the bedrooms.

The colonial-style building has two floors, eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a sauna, a spa, a large swimming pool and is surrounded by palm trees.

In 1952, Capone’s wife, Mae, sold the house, and since then it has gone through several owners. Two years ago, real estate developer Todd Glaser and investor Nelson Gonzalez bought the home for $10.75 million (BRL 57.08 million).

In an interview with the newspaper “Miami Herald”, Glaser said that there are two reasons for wanting to tear down the mansion. “First because the house sucks, it’s shameful. And second because there’s no reason to celebrate something here, in my opinion,” he pointed out, even noting that the mansion underwent a renovation in 2015.

As explained by the specialist in this type of operation, – he also bought and demolished a house, which remained for Jeffrey Epstein, involved in the sex trade of minors – the residence is about one meter below sea level and there is damage caused by salt water in several parts of the foundation.

Glaser also said that they intend to sell the new house for US$ 45 million (almost R$ 239 million).

However, on September 13, a hearing at the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board may change the plan of the two investors. On the agenda will be the analysis of whether the city will transform Al Capone’s mansion into a building of “historical interest”. If given this nomenclature, it cannot be overturned.