The Newspaper for the Future of Miami
Connect with us:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
Front Page » Real Estate » 55-story riverside condo heads to OK

55-story riverside condo heads to OK

Written by on January 15, 2014
55-story riverside condo heads to OK

Edge, a towering sliver of residential units planned in an artistic structure along the Miami River, is one step closer to reality.

On Monday, the Miami River Commission recommended approval of the ambitious project, but the split vote comes with conditions.

Owner Rafael Aragonés was pleased with the approval and said he’s looking forward to taking his sleek high-rise plan to the city’s Urban Development Review Board meeting Jan. 22.

The developer has made concessions on the design, following recommendations from city officials.

“Since our last meeting, we’ve worked very hard” to make changes, Mr. Aragonés told the Miami River Commission, then turned over the presentation to his attorney Lucia Dougherty.

Ms. Dougherty immediately set out to illustrate the unique nature of this project, which calls for construction of a 55-story, 631-foot-tall, 130-unit residential development on a .34-acre site at 55 SW Miami Avenue Road.

The design team has incorporated a public riverwalk.

The developer and his team have worked with the city and moved the proposed building “as close to the [Miami Avenue] bridge as possible, to give the largest view corridor we can,” Ms. Dougherty told the commission.

She said the developer has agreed the riverwalk will be accessible to the public 24 hours a day, and signage around the site will draw attention to the riverwalk.

Luis Revuelta of Revuelta Architecture International said the structure is designed with eight floors of parking, using two vehicle elevators. The design hides the vehicles, he said.

“You won’t see the cars,” said Mr. Revuelta. The outer surface will also incorporate an artistic element, he said.

“This is more like an art work with a building inside,” Mr. Revuelta said.

Not seeing all those cars “would be wonderful,” said Commission Chairman Horacio Stuart Aguirre, “especially with the artwork” design on the structure.

Commission member Gary Winston asked the owner whether it’s a challenge to get such a massive building on such tiny property, barely a third of an acre.

Mr. Aragonés acknowledged it’s “quite a challenge” but said it’s one that can be accomplished, particularly with the help of the structural engineer he’s working with.

Along with the proposed riverwalk, the site hugs a portion of a recently installed on-road Miami River Greenway. It’s how this project impacts the greenway that’s a major part of the conditional approval.

One city official said the existing greenway is being “modified to fit this” development.

That portion of the greenway was built using a $713,756 federal grant. If the development impacts the greenway design, the city might have to return some of those funds.

The conditional approval requires resolution of the greenway issue.

The second condition is that the developer remove planned landscaping elements that would cut 3 feet into an existing 8-foot-wide sidewalk.

The proposed, the 55-story development has met some opposition.

At a meeting last month, the river commission’s Urban Infill Subcommittee Chairman James Murley recommended the commission find the Edge plan “inconsistent with the adopted Miami River Corridor Urban Infill Plan.”

In addition, the commission’s Greenways subcommittee Chairman Ernie Martin recommended the commission find the project “inconsistent” with the Miami River Greenway Action Plan, Miami 21’s Section 3.11, and portions of the city charter.

That opposition was reflected in the first vote Monday. A motion to recommend denial of the Edge project garnered affirmative votes from Sallye Jude, Dr. Martin and Patricia Harris. The motion failed on a vote of three yes, seven no.

Dr. Martin mentioned the project’s imposing size, and although “density is massively increasing” everywhere in the city, residential towers are being built along the river and “we plop down on the sides of the river the population of Coral Gables,” he said.

One role of river commission members is to represent the interests of the public, people who enjoy walking, jogging and biking along the river, Dr. Martin said.

The idea of the Miami River Greenway is to “share” the space, he said. “It serves as recreation.”

Even with concessions, the Edge plan would impact the design of the riverwalk and impact – or intrude on – the greenway, Dr. Martin said.

“In other cases we’ve decided to leave both intact,” he said.

The public will be poorly served “if the on-road greenway is interfered with,” Dr. Martin said.

After more debate, a second motion to recommend approval with the two conditions passed 7-3. The same dissenting commissioners cast the three no votes.

The proposed use isn’t consistent with historical uses along the river, Ms. Jude told commission members.

“The river is not even evident when you build to this height,” she said. “I believe it’s out of scale with this river.”

7 Responses to 55-story riverside condo heads to OK

  1. David

    January 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    This is awful for Downtown and Miami. This building is destroying what makes downtown/brickell so beautiful (open space!). All of a sudden, when crossing the bridge into Brickell pedstrians and those in cars will be hit in the face with a large concrete wall. It doesn’t matter whether there is art or not to beautify this building – it still becomes a wall of concrete destroying the beautiful views of Brickell. In addition, the view of the river is going to become swallowed by this concrete wall. I don’t understand what the commission was thinking when approving this. I also don’t think hiding cars is possible. You need ventilation for safety of the residents and building so you can’t completely cover the wall with art. This is just plain aweful.

    Can Miami Today inform us of who we need to contact in the city/county to step in and and stop this project from happening until something better is proposed for the city and its residents?

    • Luis Estrada

      January 16, 2014 at 10:41 am

      The Edge proposal is on the agenda of the next meeting of the city’s Urban Development Review Board, which begins at 2 p.m. on Jan. 22, at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami. Meetings of the board are open to the public, but these are not public hearings. It is up to the chairman of the board to decide whether participation of the public is allowed. For more information, call the city’s Planning & Zoning Department at 305-416-1400.

      – The Editor.

  2. alex

    January 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Building should be called “Wall on the river”. horrible design. and the supposed “art” will probably be a few coats of paint when they run into the first financial hurdle. By then the city won’t be able to do anything about it. No consideration for the public or respect for the river.

  3. DC Copeland

    January 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    As I understand it from the exMiami website, the 5-story wall facing the river will be “cladded with a glass structure that will incorporate a special purpose design art piece…(using) themes of the Miami River…”. This could very well be something that “floats” over the garage wall that is perforated to allow ventilation while disguising the cars. Which sounds like a plan. Still, I like what the Russkies have come up with for their Sochi Winter Olympics Games, a giant interactive push-pin 3D portrait maker that covers a wall roughly the same size of the EDGE: Perhaps the developer could buy it off MegaFon (the Russian telecom company sponsoring the pavilion) following the Olympics and hang it on the garage wall instead. It’s pretty cool, probably a lot cooler than what EDGE came up with since the 3D animated bas relief would engage people walking along the River Walk (a booth at ground level takes 3D portraits and then transmits the images to the actuators and lights on the wall producing a short-lived 3D portrait of the person below). These portraits could be interspersed with programmed selections of say, the presidents on Mount Rushmore, Tequestas (whatever they looked like), the Mona Lisa, etc. At Sochi, this is all free but if used here, EDGE could charge a nominal fee for those seeking to see their face on the wall that would pay for maintenance of the animated mural. You can learn more from the Swiss company iart that designed it at

  4. TT

    January 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I live in th Riverfront community on the other side of the river. I know the proposed site and it is much to small and narrow to support a 55 story condo. It will distroy any potential for a south bank river walk and create a huge wall of concreet along the river.

    It’s a bad idea! A much smaller scale building would be a better fit for the site. The attraction of Brickle centeral area as a low rise open area is being destroyed by to many high rise building in such a small area. The Brickle City Center is enough!

    City planners need to put a stop on so many tall buildings (above 30 stories) and do an impact study on the consequences of this many tall building in such a confined area.

    I think the owner is seeking approval to drive up the value of the land and can’t be serious about putting a 55 story building on a .34 acer lot that is less than 100 feet deep. (:-(


    January 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    We have a condo in Brickle and it is such a beautiful area. I agree the City Center is enough. The small amount of greenway and riverwalk that we have needs to stay and even grow, but definitely NOT be dimished. Brickle is an amazing area that Miami is very proud of. Let us not let our officials distroy the gem we have.

  6. Jua Carlos

    February 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I can not believe the City authorities will allow a so massive building in a very tiny lot. Today Brickell is already crowded and it makes difficult to drive in the area sepending a lot of time in there. Also this is again to the residents quilty life. Would not you believe that The Brickle City Center will be more than enough!. And… what about the river and green areas. People or authorities Responsible for making it happens or not will think this twice . This is agaist the resindents, the enviroment and and the beuaty of one of the key icons of Miami ” Brickell”.

    Please. Think twice. Mistakes will impact a buch Brickell residents and enviroment.