Developer changes plans for Gables waterway project
By Eric Kalis
After conducting a series of meetings with Coral Gables officials and residents, a developer made sweeping changes to plans for a mixed-use project facing the University of Miami on US 1 with hopes of bringing it before the city's Board of Architects this month.
According to plans, hotel areas along Caballero Boulevard and South Alhambra Circle will give way to Gables Waterway, a mixed-use Amace Properties development with 80,000 square feet of Class A office space and 108 Mediterranean-style condominiums in the 1300 block of South Dixie Highway.
Planners are moving slowly to make sure concerns of neighbors are addressed, said managing agent Frank Siberio, president of Realbloc Inc. Amace hired RE Chisholm Architects to do renderings, released in a newsletter this week along with a list of plan modifications.
The process has been delayed by a backlog of projects under city review, said lead architect Robert Chisholm, who recently earned the support of the Riviera Neighborhood Association in a public meeting. The project was expected to go before the Board of Architects six months ago.
The planners are awaiting a city vote on a zoning change from hotel use to permanent residential use, he said. One-fourth of the complex will be devoted to commercial space with the rest including residential and open spaces.
Among the fundamental changes described in the newsletter:
NThe first building along South Alhambra Circle was moved from 10 feet to 45 feet away from the property line.
NThe first building along Caballero was moved to 100 feet from the property line.
NAll commercial space will be at least 300 feet away from single-family homes.
The newsletter details a traffic study conducted by project planners that determined the complex would have a negligible impact on local traffic.
The delay in securing city approval has not deterred prospective tenants, Mr. Siberio said. The developer expects Esslinger Wooten Maxwell and Metro Bank to buy office space.
"As far as I know, (EWM and Metro Bank) will be there," Mr. Siberio said. "Several of the current tenants have expressed desire to continue to have offices there and possibly purchase a condo to reside a short distance from their workplaces."
Plans are to retain the 24 boat slips at the property and possibly to add as many as six, Mr. Siberio said.
"I have stated all along that we will not build more than 30 boat slips," Mr. Siberio said. "If people own bigger boats within what can fit in the canal, we will most likely have less slips."
Mr. Siberio said construction is not expected to begin until the end of 2008 and construction costs will not be determined until after the Board of Architects votes on the project.