30story Overtown Tower Planned With Film Studios Hotel
Written by Eric Kalis on January 11, 2007
By Eric Kalis
A Miami developer plans to build on undeveloped Overtown land a 30-story mixed-use tower with film studios and a hotel to help attract entertainment professionals and put the city’s emerging Entertainment District on the map.
PREMA, a development company owned by film producer Jordi Verite, plans to build a 400-foot mixed-use tower, MaxMiami, on 1.07 acres spanning Northeast Miami Place and First Avenue. The building is to feature a four-story shopping galleria topped by 11 stories of offices and recording studios for filmmakers and actors to lease for post-production work, a 163-room atrium hotel and 28 high-end condominium units.
Other planned amenities include a jazz plaza on the ground level fronting the galleria, pool terraces for hotel guests and a restaurant mezzanine at the top of the tower, said project architect Dean Lewis of DB Lewis Architecture + Design.
The fledgling Entertainment District "is a strip of high-end condos along the bay," Mr. Lewis said. "We have to develop in the underdeveloped pockets of land downtown. If not, the city will just be a strip of high-end condos along the water.
"This is a very original project that is still appropriate to today’s market," he said. "Our client understands the needs of arts and entertainment professionals. We have a developer [Paul Murphy] interested and ready to build, and a number of arts and entertainment professionals have expressed interest in leasing space."
The company is applying green building standards in the project’s design, implementing light-reflecting glass facades, water recirculation and an electronic valet parking system that reduces carbon monoxide emissions by placing cars on hydraulic lifts instead of having them driven up several floors to a parking space, Mr. Lewis said. The project will eventually apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, he said.
Before applying for a building permit, PREMA needs the city to approve a zoning change on the site from liberal commercial to central commercial-residential, which would remove all height restrictions for the 30-story tower. The Zoning Advisory Board voted Monday to delay voting on the zoning change until the Feb. 26 meeting after a typographical error was discovered on the city’s project site map. The development team had no objection to the month-long delay, which should not impact the project’s timeline, Mr. Lewis said.
The company expects the zoning board to uphold the planning department’s recommendation to approve the zoning change next month, Mr. Lewis said. Since the tower abuts high-density buildings in the central commercial zone, it should fulfill one of the major priorities of the city’s zoning code rewrite Miami 21 — having smooth transitions from high- to low-density neighborhoods, he said.
"We believe our project makes the transition and is appropriate," Mr. Lewis said. "We cannot just pile up high-density buildings on the edge of the bay. This project is very site-sensitive. The idea is to re-urbanize the undeveloped pocket between the Upper East Side and North Miami Avenue along the 14th street Entertainment District."
Representatives of nearby property owner Jersy Ltd., a New York development company, wrote a letter to city officials supporting the zoning change, citing the project’s potential to serve an entertainment purpose in the Omni area and extend downtown development westward.
The goal remains to apply for a building permit by the end of this year, Mr. Lewis said, with hopes of breaking ground and beginning foundation work early next year. The tower’s construction is expected to take more than two years, he said.Details: www.maxmiami.com.