The Newspaper for the Future of Miami
Connect with us:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
Front Page » Communities » Workforce housing in downtown Miami to get big boost

Workforce housing in downtown Miami to get big boost

Written by on July 19, 2016
Workforce housing in downtown Miami to get big boost

When Melody Tower opened in May, the 38-story apartment building was more than 95% leased, illustrating the aching need for affordable and workforce housing in downtown Miami.

Melody brought 497 market rate apartments to the city’s fledgling arts and entertainment district, at 245 NE 14th St., and now its developer, Melo Group, is ready to do it again.

The developer, through its 14th Plaza Corp., is requesting a zoning change for vacant land between Northeast 14th and 15th streets, adjacent to the School Board Metromover Station.

If the change earns final approval, it paves the way for a major mixed-use residential project called Square Station, bringing about 710 market rate apartments.

The current plan would see twin 34-story towers built to a connected pedestal providing 946 parking spaces, along with about 15,000 square feet of commercial/retail space.

There would be 355 units in each building, with prices ranging from $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom up to $2,500 for a three-bedroom.

Melo hopes to break ground in August at the 1424 NE Miami Place location.

Melody Tower caters to young professionals wanting to live close to their jobs in and around downtown Miami. The new tower is right next door to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and within walking distance of Museum Park, the waterfront and more.

Square Station is planned just three blocks to the west and also caters to those young professionals.

For a public hearing on the first reading of the proposed rezoning, the developer lined up several millennials, many of whom are new tenants in Melody Tower, who praised the company for bringing apartments to the city that are more affordable for locals.

One man said he used to live in Kendall and it often took him an hour and a half to get to work in downtown Miami. He now resides in Melody Tower and can walk to work. He praised Melo Group for making a huge difference in the neighborhood, bringing affordable housing and commerce to the area north of I-395.

There aren’t many locals who can afford an $800,000 condo but they still want to live, work and play in the City of Miami, he told the commission, offering his support for Square Station.

Commissioner Francis Suarez pointed to a critical need for affordable and workforce housing in the city.

Mr. Suarez commended the Melo family for constructing workforce housing without being mandated to do so, and without other incentives.

Mr. Suarez also recognized the success of Melody Tower, being nearly full the day the building was opened for tenants to move in.

Melo Group is providing a unique and needed product at a quick pace and reasonable cost, said Mr. Suarez.

On top of all that, Melo had a work of public art installed outside of Melody Tower, a decision it made on its own, Mr. Suarez said. The 8-foot-tall stainless steel violin sculpture designed and created by artist Helidon Xhixha is titled Endless Melody.

“They should be commended for doing things right,” Mr. Suarez said.

Commissioner Frank Carollo echoed some of Mr. Suarez’s statements and expressed support for the rezoning and Square Station proposal.

“Right next to the Metromover – this is what it’s about,” Mr. Carollo said. “This is smart growth for our city.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the rezoning on first reading. A final reading is to be scheduled soon.

5 Responses to Workforce housing in downtown Miami to get big boost

  1. DC Copeland

    July 20, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Nix the 900+ space garage and that will bring the rental costs down even further and make the project even more accessible to those with average incomes. Why do you need such a huge garage when the building is within walking distance of mass trans? Downtown needs less cars and more alternative ways of getting around. Don’t encourage more parking garages.

    • Laz

      July 25, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Because people that want to live in downtown but work for South Florida’s top employers need to park their, i dont know why people think downtown is a huge work/live enviorment? no major employer is in downtown or brickell

  2. Gerwyn Flax

    July 20, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    The city of Miami apparently cares little about good architecture, just as long as vacant lots are crammed with cereal boxes and balconies. In a location such as the Performing Arts center one would think that the city would demand signature buildings that compliment the center. Instead, they approve another one of Milo’s infamous crappy designs that is 19th century at best, with more to come. this is not the kind of architecture expected of a world class city. Once it’s built it cannot be relocated and becomes just another missed opportunity. We know that city commissioners travel outside the US on their various jaunts, and are exposed to fine architecture. We just don’t understand why it is not demanded of developers in Miami. There is not one iconic building in the city that is, at a glance, recognizable as Miami. Placing so called art here and there only reinforces a long held perception that we’re just a flash in the pants.

    • DC Copeland

      July 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      I thought I was the only one who thought like this, i.e., demanding that government insist on “destination architecture.” I guess in this case, work force housing models make that impossible if you expect to make a decent profit– although I think it can be done, especially if government requires it. That said, although I think you meant “flash in the pan,” “flash in the pants” gets a ten-point-oh from my Olympics score card for giving me a good laugh and great visuals. Then again, maybe you’re right on the money: Miami is supposed to be sexy; look at Visit Florida’s recent video plugging our sexiness with Mr. 305 in his way sexy pants here:

  3. Daniella Pierre

    July 22, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    “prices ranging from $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom up to $2,500 for a three-bedroom” which workforce population is this development being for? Certainly not hard working middle income families and others stuck in the middle.