22 acres in Little Haiti targeted for vast mixed-use project
Written by John Charles Robbins on December 27, 2016
A developer intends to turn 22 acres in Little Haiti into a vast mixed-use project with nearly 2,800 residences, acres of stores and offices, and the promise of a train station.
East Ridge LLC has applied to the City of Miami for a Special Area Plan to package the project in one development agreement. The city’s Urban Development Review Board reviewed the project Dec. 21 and deferred it to January.
The property is south of Northeast 54th Street, listed at 5045 NE Second Ave.
A conceptual plan filed with the city shows plans for:
■2,798 residential units.
■418 hotel rooms.
■283,798 square feet of commercial/retail area.
■97,103 square feet of offices.
■4,636 parking spaces.
■231 spaces for bicycle parking.
■295,343 square feet of open space.
The sweeping plan would transform Little Haiti and has some residents worried about its long-term impact on traffic and life in general.
Several residents spoke in opposition to the project Dec. 21, and some pleaded with the board to defer the plan to afford more time for review, and to look again in 2017 when more board members are present and more residents can weigh in on the far-reaching proposal. Of the nine-member board, three were present.
One resident spoke in favor, noting the potential for many new area jobs, but cautioned to keep a close eye on the development as it evolves and to think beyond open green spaces or parks when determining what public benefits the developer must provide in order to get bonus density.
The proposal envisions buildings from 8 to 28 stories, after bonuses.
The site is bordered on the north by Northeast 54th Street, on the east by FEC railway tracks, on the south by Archbishop Curley – Notre Dame High School property and on the west by Northeast Second Avenue.
Across Northeast Second Avenue is the Miami Jewish Health Systems campus.
Attorney Edward Martos, representing the developers, said the first thing they noticed about the property is its growth of very mature trees and a major priority in their plan is to preserve those trees.
“That is driving all of our plans: having a lot of green,” he said.
The overall plan will emphasize the open spaces between the buildings, said Mr. Martos. Zoning rules governing Special Area Plans require at least 10% open space; the Eastside Ridge plan boasts about 30%, he said.
Other factors driving the project are job opportunities tied to the neighboring health systems campus and the very real possibility of a train station being built as part of the Special Area Plan, Mr. Martos told the board.
Mr. Martos said Tri-Rail has studied this area for years with an eye toward creating a passenger rail stop.
Studies have shown that Tri-Rail likes the site in Little Haiti based on projected growth but doesn’t favor locating a station there now because of a lack of connectivity.
“We think this project eliminates those barriers,” Mr. Martos said.
The overall plan is to build a station inside Eastside Ridge along its eastern ridge, fed and serviced by new city trolley stops, Mr. Martos said.
The developer’s design team includes Kobi Karp Architecture and transportation engineering firm Kimley-Horn