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Front Page » Top Stories » Permit For 2tower Mixed Project Sought

Permit For 2tower Mixed Project Sought

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Written by on September 13, 2007

By Eric Kalis
A South Florida developer is seeking a permit to build a two-tower residential mixed-use project near the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, but project officials are in no rush to begin construction.

Midgard Development Group applied this week for a City of Miami major use special permit for 1700 Biscayne Blvd., a 620-residence mixed-use project with 289 hotel rooms, 140,281 square feet of retail space and 1,369 parking spaces on several parcels totaling 2.37 acres. Group officials spent the last nine years working with three property owners to configure the site, project spokesman Daniel Goldstein said.

Architectural firm Zyscovich, which drafted a long-term master plan for downtown Miami, is designing 1700 Biscayne Blvd.

The project "has been long-considered," Mr. Goldstein said. "The first pieces were bought in 1998. We always thought this is a great site. The good thing about that property in relation to some other properties just north is the zoning [SD-6 high density] is a lot more intense."

If city commissioners approve the major use special permit for 1700 Biscayne Blvd., a 607-foot tower would contain 261 residential units and 289 hotel rooms while a 549-foot tower would include 358 residential units.

The city’s planning department conducts a staff review of all major use special permit applications and makes recommendations before the planning advisory board — and eventually the City Commission — votes on the project. Once approved by commissioners, a major use special permit is valid for two years. The developer can extend the permit for two years twice.

"This has always been envisioned as a mixed-use project, but on the other hand we are open to changes when the new market comes about," Mr. Goldstein said. "We still believe it will always be mixed-use, but the mix may vary" depending on real estate market conditions.

With Miami-Dade County in the midst of a residential slowdown, project officials will patiently watch the market evolve before setting construction start dates and timelines, Mr. Goldstein said. "We are not really looking to build this right away," he said. "We recognize this is a downturn market. A lot of people would probably be surprised that a new [major use special permit application] is coming through. We don’t know how long the downturn is going to last; if it gets better sooner than people think then we’ll come to the market sooner."

Original plans call for a three- or four-star hotel on the site to fill a need for a business-class hotel in the area, Mr. Goldstein said. The hotel component, he said, is not etched in stone, however.