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Front Page » Top Stories » 36story Residential Tower Slashed From Plans For Parking Garage

36story Residential Tower Slashed From Plans For Parking Garage

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Written by on February 9, 2006

By Deserae del Campo
The Miami Parking Authority last week cut a 36-story residential condo tower out of its plans for redevelopment of a downtown garage, downsizing the project to nine stories with no residences and three floors of offices.

The change markedly trimmed the projected $120 million cost. Demolition of the 45-year-old garage is to begin late this year with construction to be completed in mid-2008.

"We’re simply not sure at this moment whether there will eventually be a greater market for office space or residential at this site," Art Noriega, authority executive director, said Tuesday. "That is why we scaled the project back for now, to give us the capability to analyze in the near future just what will be most needed and to respond accordingly with what the market dictates."

The 1.65-acre site of Garage 1, 40 NW Third St., across from the new federal courthouse, was to house a 429-unit condominium and 12,500 square feet of street-level retail connected to a 10-story garage with 1,020 spaces.

When plans were announced in April 2004, they called for 309 condo units with 15,137 square feet of retail and 1,285 parking spaces.

But during an authority meeting last week, officials announced yet another version, and board members approved payment of $30,000 to Timothy Haahs & Associates Inc. for new conceptual designs. Designers are expected to "come back with a full design of the project in the future," Mr. Noriega said.

The residences now are to be replaced by three floors of offices. The garage was downsized to 700 spaces but could be extended horizontally to include 300 more. An undetermined amount of street-level retail remains.

"We have redirected this project to be able to address the parking demand the area is facing right now, while retained the flexibility to add another major component in the future when demand warrants," Mr. Noriega told the board.

Now that the condos are being stripped out, "cost is undetermined as of yet, but it will be significantly less due to no condo element or that much retail space," said Mark Trowbridge, authority deputy executive director for business development.

The authority expects to move its offices to the top floor "based on the economics of the project," Mr. Trowbridge said.

Miami Downtown Developers LLC is to be leasing agent for the commercial and retail portions. The authority will oversee construction.

"Miami Downtown Developers is assisting with leasing only," Mr. Noriega said. "They get paid by earning a commission, just as any other commercial real estate broker."

Miami Downtown Developers is a partnership of Red Rock Global of Atlanta, the Gale Co. of New Jersey and Teja Associates of Miami. The architect is R.J. Heisenbottle of Coral Gables.

The authority manages and develops parking in the city. It oversees 22,000 spaces, five garages, 55 lots and 8,300 metered street spaces. The semi-autonomous agency is self-funded and receives no property-tax support.