MIAMI, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Florida's historic Sheraton Bal Harbour hotel, once a favorite haunt for celebrities such Frank Sinatra and his "Rat Pack," was demolished Sunday.
Originally opened in 1956 as the Hotel Americana, the Bal Harbour had offered its services to hundreds of thousands of tourists and even served U.S. President John F. Kennedy during the last week of his life, The Miami Herald said.
Local historian Paul George said the hotel represented the true birth of south Florida tourism.
''When you entered the hotel, you knew it was a special place,'' George said. "But for me, it represents the discovery of tourist of the north end of the beach, something that happened after Word War II."
The 645-room hotel was demolished to make way for two new construction projects, a 250-unit St. Regis Hotel and a ritzy 350-unit condominium complex.
Yet for locals, the destruction of the historic hotel marks a significant architectural and cultural loss to the region, the Herald said.