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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami Panel Rejects Highrise Condo Project Next To Mercy Hospital

Miami Panel Rejects Highrise Condo Project Next To Mercy Hospital

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Written by on September 14, 2006

By Deserae del Campo
Miami’s zoning board Monday rejected a rezoning request to allow development of high-rise condominiums next to Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove.

Residents opposed to the request to change zoning of the hospital-owned land from government institutional to R-4 multifamily residential filled the hall for the board’s meeting, which ended late Monday night.

The Related Group, which asked for rezoning, hopes to build a three-tower, 300-unit condo complex at the site. The zoning board voted 5-2 against the proposal.

The community, 300 Grove Bay Residences, would rise on 6 acres owned by the hospital at 3663 S. Miami Ave. The three towers would range from 310 to 417 feet high and include 642 parking spaces. Area residents at the meeting opposed the height of the towers and the rezoning request.

Related officials have offered to provide a public baywalk and small parks from Mercy Hospital to Bayshore Drive.

"I think the zoning board made the right decision," said Grove resident Patrick Goggins. "It seems to me that the zoning board was not convinced that the supposed benefit that the project would bring to Mercy Hospital and the North Grove neighborhood could not be accomplished by another project that has a use consistent with the existing governmental institutional zoning classification."

Related has agreed to purchase the land from the hospital for $96 million pending a zoning change. John Matuska, Mercy’s president and chief executive officer, told the zoning board that the funds would be used to renovate the hospital.

"We have facilities at the hospital that are from 35 years old to 56 years old," said Mr. Matuska. "This money would be used for new technology, renovations to the current buildings and for new medical programs at Mercy."

Mercy officials are using the property as a parking lot for employees. Related now can take the request to a planning advisory board meeting Sept. 20 and a City Commission meeting scheduled for October.

"The proposed project is the best use of the land," said Alicia Cuervo, senior project manager for The Related Group, a former assistant city manager in Miami. "The current zoning is government institutional, which allows for unlimited height and up to 1.2 million square feet of additional medical-facility-type uses."

Related officials have said it would work with Mercy to build a medical living facility or a 1.2 million-square-foot medical complex if they aren’t allowed to develop condos on the property. "Our goal is to highlight a luxury residential use as opposed to the more aggressive alternative of a high-density medical facility, which is allowed under the current zoning," Ms. Cuervo said.

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