Mixed-use Wynwood office building ‘Forum’ gets a city thumbs-up
Written by John Charles Robbins on July 24, 2018
A New York based development company has teamed with a globally-recognized and award-winning architect to bring a stand-out mixed-use office building to the heart of the ever-growing Wynwood Arts District.
RedSky Capital plans to construct an eight-story mixed-use building called Forum at 2700 NW Second Ave. in Wynwood.
The developer’s team presented details July 18 to the city’s Urban Development Review Board, which recommended approval of the project with some suggestions.
RedSky Capital LLC and its affiliate RS JZ 2700 NW2 LLC own the 1.25-acre site north of Northwest 27th Street, south of Northwest 27th Terrace, and west of Northwest Second Avenue.
Forum is designed to include up to 144,781 square feet of offices, about 36,072 square feet of commercial-retail space, parking for 370 vehicles, and significant outdoor amenities and plaza spaces including pedestrian paseos connecting all frontages through the site.
Steve Wernick, an attorney representing RedSky, said the site is long and narrow; it extends more than 495 feet.
The goal in designing the building was to emphasize public space, he said, and give as much attention to the public space as the private spaces.
Forum will be an open and communal gathering space, and “visitors will be drawn into the building,” Mr. Wernick said.
“It unlocks the potential of this part of Wynwood,” he said.
Shari Neissani, senior vice president with RedSky Capital, told the board her company has a reputation of investing in emerging neighborhoods.
In a letter to the city, Mr. Wernick wrote: “With RedSky’s experience in the evolution of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, they have paid special attention to understand the surrounding context of the neighborhood and put together a top-notch design team, spearheaded by Enrique Norten, award-winning architect and principal of TEN Arquitectos. Forum is a testament to RedSky’s commitment to the long-term revitalization of Wynwood. The Project elevates the public realm through the building, while delivering class A office space that will attract creative office tenants looking at Wynwood as Miami’s emerging office district and help support the continued evolution of new retail, F&B, hotel, and residential buildings within the district.”
Since 2013, RedSky has acquired and now owns and operates roughly five acres in Wynwood, with a significant footprint along Northwest Second Avenue.
Wynwood Block is a fully renovated warehouse at 2621 NW Second Ave., and one of the first legacy structures in Wynwood under the NRD-1 Neighborhood Conservation District zoning.
Current tenants include prominent retailers, the Wynwood Diner, and well-curated artisanal boutiques, contributing to the success of the Northwest Second Avenue corridor, Mr. Wernick said.
RedSky’s first ground-up new development, CUBE Wynwd, currently under construction, will be the first boutique office-over-retail building in Wynwood, he said. CUBE, at 222 NW 24th St., will include about 80,000 square feet of class A offices with a rooftop terrace for tenants’ use, and is targeted for completion this December.
RedSky’s investment in the Second Avenue corridor extends to 2407 NW Second Ave., where the company is designing an adaptive reuse project that will preserve the traditional character and façades of the building while adding a second story for more expansive retail and restaurant options.
“Finally, RedSky is developing a parking garage with over 400 spaces on NW 22nd St., which will help expand on parking supply in Wynwood and furthering the creation of a centralized parking program that facilitates the evolution of a walkable, pedestrian-oriented district, while providing parking options for surrounding future development in the neighborhood,” Mr. Wernick wrote.
Mr. Norten is the lead design architect on the Forum project. He said Forum recognizes the very distinctive environment of the evolving Wynwood neighborhood, which is destined to be “a walking city of the future.”
Mr. Norten showed the site plan and renderings of Forum, with its inclusion of retail and a small public square off of Northwest Second Avenue, serving to activate the space. An open area with stairs will also help activate the space, along with up to three levels of retail, he said.
The building is to incorporate colorful art on ceiling areas exposed to the exterior.
“Forum is punctuated with carved outdoor zones pulling the streetscape up and through the building, prioritizing the pedestrian experience with multi-level open terraces, plazas, passageways, and accessible retail frontages,” wrote Mr. Wernick.
The developer is requesting several waivers, including loading berths with on-street turning movements, varying vehicular entry spacing, allowing parking in the second layer, and up to 30% reduction in required parking spaces (from 506 to 369 spaces).
The project impressed board member Ignacio Permuy, who called it beautiful and very positive for Wynwood.
“I like the design, and your approach to the pedestrian realm. You hit it out of the ballpark. Great job,” he said.
Board member Fidel Perez also complimented the developer’s team, saying the project is very well put together.
He did question if there might be conflict between the rising retail and the private offices, and how the stairs would be secured after hours.
RedSky representatives said they are working out the details of security for the building, and noted there are two lobbies dedicated to the private office spaces. Cameras and roving guards, and perhaps a security gate, are being considered.
Mr. Perez also asked about parking mechanics. Ms. Neissani said the parking levels will have a combination of valet parking with lifts, and self-parking areas with no lifts.
Board member Anthony Tzamtzis asked about the painted ceilings and the need for adequate lighting to make the artwork pop at night.
He was told there will be lighting.
Mr.Tzamtzis said the building’s long design and the planned façade was a bit monotonous.
“The long facades need to be a little more playful,” he said.
Mr. Norten said they would consider the suggestion.
Board member Gerald Martson, a landscape architect, said he was pleased to see the developer’s team spend so much time on improving the building’s public space.
Acting Chairman Neil Hall agreed. “I appreciate the idea of respecting the public space.”
The Forum project must also be reviewed by the Wynwood Design Review Committee, which was mentioned as a condition of the city review board’s recommendation of approval. The other condition is for the developer’s team to study ways to vary the long articulation of the façade.