gets initial clearance for West Kendall project
officials have tentatively approved a zoning change in West Kendall
to make way for a 160-acre, mixed-use town center project by the Rouse
Miami-Dade County Commission has given initial approval, pending the
project's review as a development of regional impact, to allow the
Kendall Town Center to be built at Kendall Drive and Southwest 157th
Avenue. The area is currently zoned for residential development.
county's staff does not support the change.
a very large commercial project and would make large amounts of vehicular
traffic," said Robert Usherson, chief of the metropolitan planning
section of the Department of Planning & Zoning.
Olmedillo, director of planning & zoning, said his staff would like
Rouse's engineers to propose a solid traffic plan.
state's Community Affairs Department is also reviewing the project
and the potential for traffic congestion once Kendall Town Center
is completed. Ken Metcalf, spokesperson for the department, said the
projected impact on area roads may require Rouse to provide mitigation
for the anticipated traffic.
Pope, project development director for Rouse, said the company's engineers
think the area can support any traffic the project would bring. The
traffic caused by West Kendall residents that usually goes outside
of the area to shop should decrease, she said.
Pope said she is a longtime resident of West Kendall.
we want to take in a movie or go to a nice restaurant we have to travel
at least 7 miles out of the area," Ms. Pope said. "Residents
said they wanted a community center with a medical center and shops."
rezoning for the Kendall Town Center will be back before the Miami-Dade
County Commission in February when commissioners will have to consider
the project's status as a development of regional impact.
are in a sufficiency review," Mr. Metcalf said regarding Rouse's
proposal to the state as a DRI. "Their application is being reviewed
to determine if it includes all the information required."
the state application is declared sufficient, he said, Rouse officials
will have to work with local government agencies to determine how
to alleviate any concerns about traffic and other infrastructure.
Kendall Town Center, Ms. Pope said, is envisioned to include 1.3 million
square feet of retail space. Executives from Burdines, Sears and Dillard's
have signed letters of confirmation to become anchor stores. The company
is also in talks with Macy's, Ms. Pope said.
also plan 400,000 square feet of office space, a 200,000-square-foot
medical center and a 200,000-square-foot, senior-assisted living facility.
Hospital executives, she said, have been negotiating with Rouse officials
to operate the project's medical center. The project also calls for
an 80,000-square-foot movie complex and a 220-room, 200,000-square-foot
acre will be set aside for a Metrobus terminal, Ms. Pope said. Another
10 acres will be for open space and landscaping, she said.
will get us closer to creating a more livable community in West Kendall,"
Ms. Pope said.
approved, she said, the project would begin construction is 2001 and
all phases should be finished by 2008.
officials estimate the economic impact to be $13 million in tax revenues.
They project the town center would create 4,760 permanent jobs.
Kendall residents last week spoke both for and against the town center
to Miami-Dade county commissioners. Those speaking against said the
project would increase traffic in the area and take away business
from West Kendall-based mom-and-pop stores.
Held, who identified himself as a concerned resident with a master's
degree in urban planning, wanted to know how Rouse officials would
mitigate the anticipated traffic congestion.
hard to turn down a Rouse project when it comes in your neighborhood,"
Mr. Held said. "But too much of a good thing is bad for you."
said the West Kendall area has a "fragile economy" with
several mom-and-pop stores struggling to stay strong. Large anchor
stores such as those Rouse proposes, Mr. Held said, will eventually
drive small stores out of business.
Baltimore-based Rouse Co. developed Bayside Marketplace and has been
in the mixed-use construction business for about 50 years They've
also created facilities in places such as Phoenix, Portland and Nevada.
company is building the Village of Merrick Park a mixed-use
project on 16 to 20 acres of land at LeJeune Road and San Lorenzo
Avenue in Coral Gables.
project will include 60,000 square feet of retail space and 30,000
of office space. Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom have agreed to be anchor
stores. It is set to be finished by fall '02.
last week gave unanimous approval to Rouse's town center application,
which was strongly supported by then-commissioner Miguel Diaz de la
Portilla, whose district included West Kendall. The commissioner resigned
to run unsuccessfully for mayor.
former commissioner said the Rouse project would improve the West
Kendall bedroom community, which is under-served by retail and over-populated.
is an application that offers a glimmer of hope," Mr. de la Portilla
said. "There is a need for this type of development there."