Development bonanza: Four Miami projects nab approval

Miami’s skyline continues to fill up. Four proposed Miami projects won approvals on Wednesday, but one developer’s planned tower hit a snag during a city board meeting.

Related Group and Merrimac Ventures’ condominium at Miami Worldcenter, AMLI Residential’s second apartment project in Miami,
Rilea Group’s mid-rise rental building near the airport,
and Terra and AB Asset Management’s Coconut Grove apartments scored approvals from the Miami Urban Development Review Board.

Grand Peaks Properties’ plan for a new multifamily project in Brickell crashed by a 5-1 nay vote.

Empire Brickell | Grand Peaks Properties

Development bonanza: Four Miami projects nab approval

Denver-based Grand Peaks’ design of its proposed 26-story apartment tower bordering Little Havana and Brickell could use more contemporary flair, according to a majority of the UDRB’s members.

“To me, it seems outdated,” board member and architect Gia Zappatini said.
“It feels to me like it was built in the ‘70s. Is there something you can explore in the façade of the building that is a little more modern?”

Another URDB member, architect Willy Bermello, said the design looked even older.
“When you look at the architectural expression…when you look at these protruding columns, it looks like something you would be doing in Miami Beach in the 1950s. I am not sure that is what you want, but it comes off like that,” he said.

Yet, Grand Peaks representatives declined an offer to delay a vote so that the project’s architect, Albert Cordoves, could tweak the building’s aesthetics.

“Unfortunately, we have some contractual obligations,” Grand Peaks’ lawyer Ines Marrero said.
“We cannot come back next month. We need a decision today.”

As a result, the board voted 5-1 to reject Grand Peak’s project and its requested waivers for a 10 percent increase in floorplates to accommodate larger apartments and 14 percent parking reduction to 344 spaces in the building’s proposed garage and eight on-street spaces.

Grand Peaks, led by Luke Simpson and Nick Simpson, can request that Miam’s planning director ignore the UDRB’s decision and approve Empire Brickell’s current design and waivers.

However, the board voted to require that the planning director provide the UDRB with a written explanation if Empire Brickell gets the greenlight.

The 1-acre development site is at 901 Southwest Third Avenue and 244 Southwest Ninth Street.
Empire Brickell would feature a mix of two- and three-bedroom units, according to plans submitted to the city.

The Crosby | Related and Merrimac
Jorge Pérez’s Related and the Motwani family’s Merrimac are proceeding with plans for a 33-story, 450-unit short-term rental friendly condominium at 601 North Miami Avenue and 25 Northeast Sixth Street.

Dubbed The Crosby, the tower will include micro-units of 350 square feet.
The small condos necessitate city approval, which the board granted at its meeting.

As the city pushes for less reliance on cars and more public transit use, the tower won’t have residential parking.
The site is walking distance from several Metrorail stops.
Also, The Crosby residents can use 2,000 parking spaces that are part of Miami Worldcenter, Merrimac’s Nitin Motwani told the board.

Still, some board members had a hard time understanding the lack of parking, calling it a building for “the new Miami.”
Others pushed for more bicycle and scooter spaces than currently planned.

“Being an urban building and one that doesn’t have any parking and you want to promote walking and alternative rides, I do see the lack of parking for bikes and scooters,” said board member Ligia Ines Labrada.

Coconut Grove-based Related Group and Fort Lauderdale-based Merrimac bought the half-acre development site for $12 million in December.

Motwani, Art Falcone and CIM Group are the master developers of the 27-acre Miami Worldcenter, much of which has been completed.

3001 Northeast First Avenue | AMLI

Development bonanza: Four Miami projects nab approval

In Midtown Miami, Chicago-based AMLI got the green light to tweak a previously approved design for a 389-unit apartment tower with 28,000 square feet of retail at 3001 Northeast First Avenue.
The changes include allowing the project to rise 21 extra feet to 330 feet, although it would remain at 31 stories, and a slight parking reduction by four spaces, according to city records.

Arquitectonica also tweaked the design so that part of the building is low-rise and the rest appears as if it’s two towers, shedding a previous “big slab” look, architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica told the board.

AMLI, led by Gregory Mutz, paid $30.5 million for the 1.8-acre development site in November.
The property is half a block from AMLI’s 719-unit AMLI Midtown Miami apartment complex at 3000 Northeast Second Avenue that was completed in 2020.

The Residences in the Grove | Terra and AB Asset Management

Development bonanza: Four Miami projects nab approval

A proposed redevelopment of The Malone hotel in Coconut Grove into an apartment building made it through the UDRB with minimal discussion.

Miami-based Terra and Miami Beach-based AB Asset Management are co-developing The Residences in the Grove at 2835 Tigertail Avenue.
The joint venture plans a five-story building with 174 units, 24,000 square feet of retail and 344 parkings spaces, according to plans submitted to the city.
Terra is led by CEO David Martin and AB Asset is led by co-founder and principal Getzy Fellig.

The Malone’s 2.2-acre site’s zoning allows the proposed project, but the UDRB is required to review developments of more than 200,000 square feet.
Designed by Arquitectonica, Residences in the Grove will feature a coral rock façade and other architectural elements that aim to fit Coconut Grove’s character.

“I think it is a breath of fresh air,” said UDRB member Anthony Tzamtzis.
“It is beautiful. I like how you took advantage of the existing site and created something at a very human scale.”

Airport site | Rilea
Miami-based Rilea’s plan for a six-story apartment building also was approved, though not without some suggested changes.

Alan and Diego Ojeda’s Rilea wants to develop 162 units at 4301 Northwest Seventh Street in Miami’s Flagami neighborhood.
The site’s zoning technically allows for eight stories, but the Federal Aviation Administration requires a lower height because of its proximity to Miami International Airport.
The project will rise 60 feet and 11 inches, the maximum allowed by the FAA.

UDRB members recommended developers try to increase the ceiling height for some of the retail portions, which Rilea’s representatives said is 11 feet, adding that it is also partly constrained by the overall project’s height limitation.
A board member suggested 15 feet is a more appropriate height, and another also took issue with the pool being in the courtyard instead of on the roof.

Atlantic Voyager, led by Francisco Valdez, owns the 1.5-acre site. It is now home to a two-story, 43,000-square-foot retail center, records show.
The owner retained Rilea to develop and manage the project, city records show.

The project will rise in an area that hasn’t received as much attention from developers as centralized neighborhoods like Brickell.

This is a “very weak corner in the city,” UDRB Chairman Ignacio Permuy said.
He added that Rilea’s project “is very inviting for the pedestrians and for all circulation in this area.”

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