Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald
By Linda Robertson
Published November 28, 2017
Life for Biscayne Boulevard tower dwellers has gotten
less noisy since a crackdown on clubs that blast music from their rooftop
dance floors. But Heart Nightclub is as loud as ever, residents say, and
those complaints have compelled Heart to fight back with a lawsuit that
contends the city of Miami and people who live downtown are conspiring to
run the clubs out of business.
The conflict between the clubs that operate 24/7 and
condo residents yearning for a decent night’s sleep is sure
to grow if they can’t find a way to co-exist. The downtown
population will continue to swell with the opening of new
buildings such as the Zaha Hadid-designed One Thousand
Museum tower and the Paramount tower within the $1.5 billion
Miami Worldcenter complex.
Heart claims the city has illegally enforced its noise
ordinance in an effort to shut down the Park West
entertainment district that was created to enliven Miami’s
previously deserted core.
“Despite its popularity, Heart Nightclub (as well as other
nightclubs located on 11th Street) has been facing growing
pushback from the Defendant and certain Downtown Miamians,
who have set their sights on ridding the Park West District
of nightclubs, lounges and bars in favor of new development,
including the Miami World Center, schools, and luxury
condominiums,” says the complaint.
“There has to be a balance between the club’s entertainment
needs and what is tolerable for residents, who have a right
to peace,” Slyder said.
But residents’ demands that the club enclose its rooftop
terrace — now covered by a large fabric awning — and reduce
the sound of the music can’t easily be granted, he said.
Constructing an enclosure would cost $1 million and turning
down the volume would turn off patrons and DJs, he said.
Club goers walk toward the parking lots. Heart, one
of the clubs located in the Park West District off 11th Street,
recently sued the city of Miami, contending the city has illegally
enforced its noise ordinance in an effort to shut down the
“Our club is EDM [electronic dance music] and we pay $80,000 for a star DJ,”
he said. “If the DJs don’t like the sound level, they walk off and then kill
you on social media. The people on the terrace want to feel the music or
they’ll leave, too.
“I’m 55. I hate it, but this is not some seedy bar,” Slyder said. “The
people are really into the DJs and the music. Play it too low and it loses
Once a barren pocket next to the I-395 overpass, the area became a hub for
all-night clubs and was formally designated an “entertainment district” by
the city in 2000. At its peak, 11 clubs thrummed in the district’s
warehouses. Five remain, and the big three are Heart, Club Space and
But their music, heavy on subwoofer bass, permeates the condo towers to the
east, where residents say the relentless low-frequency beat of marathon
dance parties causes their windows and floors to vibrate, keeps them up at
night and gets under their skin.
“This is not a small annoyance. It’s nonstop boom-boom-boom from Friday
night until early Monday morning,” said Michael Graubert, who lives in the
Marquis building at 1100 Biscayne Blvd. “When you’re dancing, you’re
activated. When you’re sleeping, it’s like an earthquake. Living downtown,
of course we expect noise, but not a sonic boom.
“Club LIV at the Fontainebleau resort has a loud sound system yet its guests
can sleep because they have soundproofing. Nightclubs in New York, Las Vegas
and across the world offer entertainment without disturbing either hotel
guests or resident neighbors. There is a remedy. It’s called a roof.”
Since the city toughened enforcement of its noise ordinance and issued
citations to all three clubs over Memorial Day weekend, E11even and Space
have made efforts to meet with residents and mitigate noise, Graubert said.
E11even, which intends to build an enclosure on its roof, closed its rooftop
for awhile and when it has reopened on occasion, the music stops at 11 p.m.
Space is modifying its sound system and its owners met with residents in
three different buildings so they could hear what the music sounds like from
inside condo units.
“The idea that our goal is to shut them down is nonsense,” said Mark Kirby,
who has lived at 900 Biscayne since 2010. “Two of the clubs are cooperating,
but Heart is doing nothing. Heart is the outlier, and is almost spiteful and
vindictive in the way it blasts us out.
“We need to solve the problem. We need to set a precedent for the future of
the city. Do you think people who paid $5 million for a unit in the Hadid
building will tolerate this? The Paramount is one block closer to the clubs
than we are. The clubs have got to comply if they want to operate in what is
now a residential neighborhood.”
Slyder said he wanted to set a decibel limit of 103 (equivalent to the sound
of a jet flyover at 100 feet) on the terraces. He also tried to conduct a
scientific sound study with acoustics expert Colby Leider, an associate
professor of music and director of the music engineering technology program
at the University of Miami. But residents wouldn’t allow access to their
homes and no measurements from within could be taken.
“Everything I’ve tried to do I’ve been stymied because I’m the bad guy,” he
said. “The city told us to come to this blighted doughnut hole where we’ve
invested millions. We’ve spent money on insulation. We’ve reduced crime. We
employ 1,200 people and we’re portrayed as the villains in the neighborhood.
“What are their motives? They don’t want a compromise. They want us to be in
violation. They want us out.”
Heart contends that despite previous interpretations of the noise law by
city attorneys, the city is inappropriately applying the rule prohibiting
noise “plainly audible” beyond 100 feet to the clubs, which are businesses
that should be exempt. If the city can’t prove that the music is bothering
someone inside a dwelling between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., the club is not in
violation, the suit says. Heart is also challenging the constitutionality of
No new citations have been issued since Memorial Day weekend — an indication
of compliance, Heart says. Each of the three clubs appealed the two
citations each was issued. A third citation would put a club’s business
license in jeopardy.
“The situation has improved because two of the three clubs are trying to be
good neighbors,” said Claudia Roussell, who lives on the 40th floor at 10
Museum Park. “One cannot make as much noise as three, even though Heart
Said Slyder: “It’s about peaceful coexistence. I just wish it was as simple
as turning some magic dial. It’s not.”