Last effort to stop another Brickell high-rise is today
By Marilyn Bowden
Residents of a landmark Brickell Avenue condominium plan to appeal today (3/29) to the Miami City Commission in a last-ditch attempt to halt construction of a high-density rental apartment building next door.
Fans of the well-known Atlantis building are among those opposing the Brickell Bay Village Development, one of whose principals is Michael Baumann. The lot was the site of a low-rise, 150-unit rental community called Brickell Bay Village Apartments, the same name proposed for the new project.
The new plans won approval from the commission in December and called for a 421-unit rental building with 632 parking spaces on a bayfront lot at 2101-5 Brickell Ave. The design has since been modified to 359 units with 510 parking spaces.
The property is immediately to the south of The Atlantis, a condo designed by Arquitectonica that enjoyed international exposure as a permanent feature in the opening credit sequence for the TV series Miami Vice.
Residents of The Atlantis have protested the Brickell Bay Village Apartment project from its inception, claiming its bulk will block the public's view of their well-known building and its design is not in keeping with neighborhood standards.
Tucker Gibbs, attorney for the Atlantis residents, said the appeal is based on a provision in the city's major use special permit regulations that stipulates a project must have no potentially adverse affect on the surrounding neighborhood.
The proposed building, he said, "is not consistent with the planning fabric of Brickell Avenue."
Bryan Hoffman, an architectural photographer and Atlantis resident, called it "a truly significant building of the post-modern period," citing its style, scale and subtle relationship to its surroundings.
Opposition to the Brickell Bay Village project, he said, "is not only from city, community and state. Several internationally recognized architects have voiced their concern."
"This monstrosity will obliterate our building and the Bristol Tower," said Jorge Diaz, one of the Atlantis residents mounting the appeal. "We feel our building is an icon of the city and is being disrespected."
Residents of The Bristol, which flanks the proposed apartments to the north, joined a group of Atlantans to oppose the development plan in June 1999 when it first came before the city commission but dropped out after developers modified the initial design.
Mr. Diaz said his group doesn't want to stop development but would like to see a compromise that addresses objections to its design.
Tory Jacobs, president of the Brickell Homeowners Association, which represents owners of condos in a number of buildings along the Brickell corridor, said his group is opposed to Brickell Bay Village Apartments because it's too dense for the area's infrastructure.
"Renters tend to live here all the time," he said, "whereas condo owners are more likely to be absentees.
"All those people have just 200 feet to exit the property. They will all need to make a right turn to go north and then make a U-turn if they want to go left."
A master traffic study for the next 20 years commissioned by the city is due in about 17 months, Mr. Jacobs said, and the project should be delayed until those results are in.
If today's appeal is unsuccessful, Mr. Gibbs said, the Atlantis group will have 30 days to appeal a commissioners' decision to the circuit court.