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Front Page » Real Estate » Four 60-story riverfront towers move ahead

Four 60-story riverfront towers move ahead

Written by on May 26, 2015
Four 60-story riverfront towers move ahead

A large project planned for riverfront property adjacent to I-95 would bring more than 1,600 residential units to Miami.

These new residences would make up the bulk of four 60-story towers, the heart of a mixed-use development named after the body of water it embraces: Miami River.

Along with its size – it is to be built in five phases – this project stands out because the City of Miami is a partner.

As part of a proposed Special Area Plan under the Miami 21 zoning code, Jose Marti Park would become a part of Miami River.

What it means is an extension of the public riverwalk westerly and under I-95, and improvements to the city park. A deal struck with the developer, CG Miami River LLC, also ensures the public riverwalk will be extended east under the Second Avenue Bridge and past neighboring condo tower Latitude on the River.

The city’s Urban Development Review Board recently recommended approval of the large mixed-use project.

At completion of all five phases, Miami River would include about 1,678 residential units, 330 hotel rooms, retail and office space, a riverfront restaurant, a new seawall with about 19 boat slips, and a public landscaped riverwalk the full length of the property.

The plan calls for one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

The development is planned for a three-block area bordered on the north by the river, on the south by Southwest Seventh Street, on the west by Southwest Third Avenue, and on the east by Southwest Second Avenue.

Melissa Tapanes Llahues, an attorney representing the developer, said the project is designed to “celebrate” the river, as a natural resource and economic engine.

She told the review board this public-private partnership will transform the area with a pedestrian-focused project that will “connect to the energy of downtown.”

The partnership would mix about 6.2 acres of private land with about 4 acres of park property.

Ms. Tapanes Llahues said the development will result in significant improvements to I-95, Southwest Seventh Street and Southwest Third Avenue.

Architect Kobi Karp described some of the concepts behind the project. He said they took inspiration from the river to create an urban fabric, and “we want to make the river our front yard.”

Miami River will offer numerous access points to the riverfront, he said, along with adding a new stretch of riverwalk that will connect the site to Brickell and beyond.

Circulation for pedestrians will include many ground-level walkways and sidewalks, and bridges will connect the four towers, Mr. Karp said.

He said the developer plans to be ready to submit all phases to city planners within six months.

Board members praised the emphasis on a pedestrian-friendly streetscape.

One board member did take exception to changes planned for Jose Marti Park.

Gerald C. Marston said that past work done in the park was the result of a design competition years ago, and the park facilities were to reflect traditional Cuban architecture.

Investing development dollars in public improvements is a wonderful thing, he said, but to make changes at the park would be a mistake.

“I’m disappointed the city is encouraging that,” Mr. Marston said. “It should be its own entity, not part of your streetscape,” he told the developer.

A representative for the developer said the park is a bit of a shambles due to lack of attention over the years, and the planned improvements “are being very much directed by city staff.”

Plans also call for added security and policing at the park.

Ms. Tapanes Llahues said the city’s parks advisory board is also involved in the renovation planned for the park.

Mr. Karp said original designs will be incorporated into improvements at the park, and the developer will be sensitive to the park’s historical significance.

Some board members like the phasing. “The approach is solid and I like it,” said Jesus A. Permuy.

Board member Dean Lewis complimented the developer on a “great achievement,” saying that gathering together eight parcels and connecting to the park is “commendable.”

Board member Fidel Perez tried unsuccessfully to advance a plan that removed a three-story triangular structure close to I-95 to create a larger open space.

Ms. Tapanes Llahues said the developer believes that structure to be very significant to the project as it will house retail uses, entertainment and restaurants.

The recommended approval from the review board has conditions, including that the developer must submit a traffic study and that final design plans for improvements to the park must be brought before the board.

In consideration for increased density and other items, the developer plans more than $21 million in improvements or cash payments as a public benefit portion of the project. Those improvements could be work on the park and riverwalk.

Current zoning of the site limits density to 200 residential units per acre, which would allow a little more than 800 units.

To get the added density, the developer is seeking a Special Area Plan, which is in effect a rezoning.

The purpose of a Special Area Plan is to allow parcels greater than 9 abutting acres to be master planned to allow greater integration of public and private improvements and infrastructure.

In order to make the 9 acre minimum, the developer and city plan a public-private partnership that includes a portion of the adjacent park.

In October, the Miami River Commission reviewed the proposal and approved a motion urging the city commission to approve the Special Area Plan with three conditions: make certain that the more than $21 million in public benefit results in improvements within the river district; the developer agrees to build and improve the public riverwalk east under the Second Avenue Bridge if Latitude on the River fails to do so; and the developer, as part of phase I, commits $5.5 million to be held in trust to ensure construction of the riverwalk if the riverfront phase II is not constructed.

Special Area Plans require the approval of the city commission, yet to occur for this project.

20 Responses to Four 60-story riverfront towers move ahead

  1. franz

    May 26, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    all this planning, money and progress and not a single penny for the balk neighborhoods, gotta love america

  2. franz

    May 26, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    not a single black family or person will benefit from all these wonderful ideas, I’ll bet anyone a dollar construction will go all the way to the front door of black neighborhoods and a big white fence will block the blacks from entring

    • JES

      June 1, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      Really? Have you seen where these new downtown Miami developments are being built? Right smack in the middle of run down predominantly black neighborhoods. And anyone can buy any of these condos, black, white or otherwise. So where is the segregation? When you complain about “not a single penny for the black neighborhoods”, what are you referring to? Money from where? Someone to come along and throw money into black neighborhoods for no reason?

  3. franz

    May 26, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    where ever the construction gets near black neighborhoods you will see beautiful greenery, city parking, and empty lots scheduled for green spaces (for in the future ;o) thats me blinking my right eye as in sit and wait cause you will never live to see anything planned for blacks or there neighborhoods.
    Its the great American way.

  4. wut

    May 27, 2015 at 10:33 am

    What the hell is a “black neighborhood”? Developers aren’t segregating neighborhoods; every unit’s available to anyone with a down payment. Said payments are what define these projects/neighborhoods; developers are in it for a paycheck.

    • Martim

      May 27, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      Scream Racism whenever shiny new things are planned in a growing, burgeoning city! Arghhhhh!!

      Anyone else find this argument lame, outdated and simpleton?

  5. DC Copeland

    May 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    It’s all good. Looking forward to seeing its completion. Good luck to all involved.

  6. frank

    May 27, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I think the development will be a hit, but I worry about them taking over Marti park. It’s a nice underused park that, although neglected, is still used and enjoyed by tons of the residents of the emerging neighborhood of brickvana/riverside. So long as they leave the park a true park and don’t absorb the green space or the sight lines I will be happy and support them. Miami is a young city. Things change, and it’s OK if they do, but we want to always strive to change them for the better, especially our parks and green spaces.

  7. Chris

    May 30, 2015 at 8:36 am

    All you people speaking of racism can all go somewhere else with that. Miami needs those 1600 extra units. Nobody cares if there are blacks, whites, or any [***] colored people. Get over the racist [****] already

    • Frank

      June 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Well put, agreed.

      Fingers crossed they don’t change the park too much or abstruct the park views. Connecting the underline to river walk would be a real accomplishment for the city and all its inhabitants

  8. Charles byrd

    May 31, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    It sounds like incredible riverfront development plan which I think is important to connect the miami river to creative mixed use development initiatives. .however..everyone knows there is a vital need for “affordable” the concern about black and other minority miami residents is legitimate. .but a simple solution is for the developer to be committed to including a certain percentage of the new residential units as affordable. .I think that’s a reasonable request. .and in addition it may provide an additional financial contribution to.financing this development. .

    • DC Copeland

      June 1, 2015 at 11:08 am

      I agree. Hopefully this will happen with the pending Miami Parking Authority deal that is being set up with a developer to build a 30-story-plus mixed-use building on land the MPA owns near the downtown courthouse. Especially in this situation.

    • Frank

      June 1, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Trying to legitimize ‘Franz’ comments by supplanting your own comments is a losing battle. Calling it ‘affordable housing’ then using that term to say it helps blacks and Hispanics doesn’t explain away Franz comments and doesn’t adress the fact that Franz only mentions ‘blacks’. Little Havana has tons of housing for the poor. That’s not going to change anytime soon. What will change is the integration of wealthier and younger residents and the creation of non-slum tenaments. Assuming the race of the new wealthier residents or the old poorer ones is savagely racist!

  9. Wenceslao

    June 2, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    LOVE IT. My only concern is…TRAFFIC!!! Where are plans to incorporate proper expansion of #masstransit development and connections along every new construction of this magnitude? Are city planners driving these areas? They are already mayhem. After these projects are finished, it will certainly not be better.

    • SergioTheRealtor

      June 24, 2015 at 2:07 am

      Wenceslao I was at a meeting where the developer shared his project and traffic improvements were discussed. It was a touchy subject because the developer is being required to spend $7.5 million on improving the I95 access ramps and some attendees felt this was unfair of the City to do. Some attendees felt I95 should be improved with Federal Funds since it is a Federal road and use those $7.5 million for other improvements in the area other than on a Federal road.

  10. Alex Tupacyupanqui

    June 2, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Excellent project in Miami, next to Brickell.

  11. Alex Tupacyupanqui

    June 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Excellent project for the Miami River, next to Brickell

  12. Martin Diaz Alvarez

    June 3, 2015 at 10:30 am

    How about the city’s infrastructure? We keep ignoring it..

  13. cj

    June 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    what will the city do with/about the homeless living under the bridge? I think this is why Latitude on the River will want to keep their walkway fenced off at the bridge. -same thing with the other side of the river, it’d be great to have a riverwalk all the way from the bay but currently the Mint has it blocked at the S. Miami Ave bridge and fenced off the other side at the FPL property.

    • DC Copeland

      June 18, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      “What will the city do with/about the homeless living under the bridge?”

      They can hire security and make part of their job making sure the homeless are continuously rounded up and sent to a homeless shelter. Or else face the wrath of all of those who bought condos in their projects and what developer wants or needs that?