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Front Page » Business & Finance » Downtown Miami tower to mix church, offices, residences, retail

Downtown Miami tower to mix church, offices, residences, retail

Written by on April 23, 2019
Downtown Miami tower to mix church, offices, residences, retail

In what’s described as a truly mixed-use project for the heart of downtown Miami, a developer plans a residential and office tower atop a new church and parking garage accented with retail uses.

PMG X Biscayne is designed at 49 stories at 400 Biscayne Blvd., former site of First United Methodist Church of Miami.

“The church has been our partner and will relocate back there,” said Javier F. Aviñó, attorney for developer PMG-Greybrook 400 Biscayne Trustee LLC. The high-profile site at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast Fifth Street is due west of Bayside Marketplace.

The city’s Urban Development Review Board on April 17 recommended approval of the mixed-use tower designed by Sieger Suarez Architects, which includes 646 dwellings, 47,902 square feet of offices, 3,006 square feet of retail, and a religious facility.

The dark glass and steel tower is to rise up from a mid-rise podium, accented with light colors and large art pieces incorporated into the façade. The pedestal will include parking for about 527 cars, ground floor retail, a small chapel and multi-purpose meeting room, and a 329-seat church on levels 8, 9 and 10 with some mezzanine seating open to the sanctuary below.

In a letter to the city, Mr. Aviñó wrote: “A grand entry feature along Biscayne Boulevard provides an architectural expression of the church use within the building. A Forecourt and drop-off area is provided to the north of the Project to enhance the pedestrian experience and avoid disruptions to traffic along Biscayne Boulevard.”

More than half of the apartments – about 340 – will be studios.

The tower will share the block with Building 3 of Miami Dade College. The developer’s team noted the desire to offer affordable smaller apartments for college students.

The project will include recognition of the past religious uses, with displays of stained glass taken from the church and on the north a sculpture of Jesus seated on a bench, from the former church building.

Board member Neil Hall called the project “a great addition to Biscayne Boulevard” and he liked the “nice tip of the hat” to the original church.

A pedestrian paseo is to run through the pedestal. An amenity deck will have an L-shaped swimming pool and recreation area.

Board member Ligia Labrada complimented the “very elegant articulation.” Board member Dean Lewis said the developer’s team did a remarkable job getting all of those uses into a tight podium.

But Mr. Lewis called the tower too dark and contradictory to the lighter pedestal, describing a rendering as black glass and stucco. A developer’s representative said the glass isn’t really black but a shade of gray and said the rendering made it look darker.

Chairman Gerald Marston commended the developer for the mixed-use idea, saying that typically the board is presented a mixed-use project that’s basically an apartment building with some retail. “This one is clearly a mixed use, of very diverse things,” he said.

Mr. Hall moved to approve the project. Mr. Lewis wanted to amend the motion to recommend the architect reconsider the dark colors, but Mr. Hall wouldn’t agree. The vote was 4 to 1, with Mr. Lewis voting no.

10 Responses to Downtown Miami tower to mix church, offices, residences, retail

  1. anon

    April 24, 2019 at 5:17 am

    If the developer if partnering with the Methodist Church, I would clarify whether LGBTQ people will be allowed full access to the building seeing as the Methodists just voted against recognizing equal rights for this particular group.

  2. Michael

    April 24, 2019 at 10:18 am

    This project is worrisome. Mixing residential and commercial is great, even necessary, but civic uses like houses of worship should be clearly separated.

    The whole new urbanist, back-to-the-city movement is happening due in large part to Jane Jacobs’ “The Death And Life of Great American Cities.” Jacobs lays out the compelling arguments of why urban development patterns are preferable to typical suburbs and she states the importance of the separation of private and public uses as one of the first principles.

    I also don’t like the coloration of the building. Miami is not New York or Chicago. It’s brash, bold, and tropical. Drab colors like gray are not appropriate. I also don’t like the flat, unadorned roof.

    • Sarah

      April 24, 2019 at 11:33 am

      I agree – It reminds me of the BB&T Towers in Orlando and Jacksonville.

    • Daniel Walton

      April 24, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Just because it’s publicly accessible does not mean it is a “public building”. This is private property and if a private property wants to house a church than there is no problem. I am gay and the developer doesn’t have to clarify anything to anyone. It’s their property, it’s their building.

      • Michael

        April 25, 2019 at 12:36 am

        It’s a civic use. I am not looking at this from a property rights perspective, but from one of urbanism. If they want to house a church, then it should be separated by a concourse or some other clear boundary.

        Your sexual orientation is irrelevant to this discussion.

  3. D.C.

    April 24, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    That is one boring building. Send it back to the city to get it “Miamified,” what Mike said above me.

  4. Gerwyn Flax

    April 24, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    This is just another silly design mandated by cheap developers, and of course city of Miami leaders will approve anything regardless of its appearance. It’s just another cereal box design with flat roofs, and huge pedestals. No consideration for real outstanding architecture. City leaders must demand better before approving these unappealing buildings that look look the same.

    • DC Copeland

      April 24, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Exactly. This is Pete Seeger’s song on a bigger, uglier scale. In fact, his song could be the theme song of downtown Miami architecture.

  5. Anon1

    April 24, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Pedestal buildings are a big thing here in Miami. Ughhh.

  6. William P Martin

    April 25, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    This is one ugly tower! Send the architect back to school.