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Front Page » Real Estate » Coral Gables seeks downsizing of five towers in Miami

Coral Gables seeks downsizing of five towers in Miami

Written by on May 1, 2019
Coral Gables seeks downsizing of five towers in Miami

Chalking up prior non-invitations to “an honest oversight,” Coral Gables City Attorney Miriam Soler Ramos says the city still expects to talk about downsizing an immense planned project around a nearby Metrorail station with Miami-Dade commissioners “in the next month or so.”

“The last we heard from them… we had been told there would be an upcoming meeting,” she said. “We want to go speak and explain why we are concerned [about] the magnitude of the project and its impacts on Coral Gables.”

The “Link at Douglas” project will cram five towers – including 1,500 residential units, 280,000 square feet of offices and 25,000 square feet of retail space, according to county transportation spokesperson Karla Damian – into a 7.5-acre parcel containing Douglas Road Metrorail station off US 1 one block outside the city.

The project, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Giménez said in a prepared statement, will help “reduce congestion on our roadways” and provide “all the benefits of an exciting urban lifestyle without ever needing to worry about a car, parking or traffic.”

Vince Lago, Coral Gables vice mayor, said the mammoth development and its paltry parking provisions – just 750 spaces total – will instead cause “immense amounts of traffic” and further impact surrounding infrastructure.

But because the county-owned land situated in Coconut Grove – leased to developers 13th Floor Investments and Adler Group – contains a Metrorail station, Miami-Dade controls zoning over the property and has final say on how it’s developed.

Adler and 13th Floor have agreed to contribute more than $17 million in improvements to the Metrorail station, including a redesign of its bus driveways and bays, passenger wait areas and shelter, and a new parking garage, according to Ms. Damian.

The firms also committed $1 million toward development of the Underline, a massive multi-municipal countywide project to transform 10 miles of county-owned land beneath the Metrorail guideway into a multimodal urban trail.

“Overall, Link at Douglas is expected to generate approximately $500 million in new revenue for Miami-Dade County,” Ms. Damian wrote.

At an Oct. 25 meeting last year, Coral Gables commissioners discussed asking the county to shrink the project and, if the county refused, a potential lawsuit to stymie the development.

Since then, however, the city hasn’t moved much on the matter while the county has done so swiftly.

Preliminary site work began April 15 on the Link at Douglas’ first phase, a 22-story, 312-unit mixed development with 6,000 square feet of retail designed by Corwil Architects. Construction is expected to start in July.

The five-year project’s second tower, a 36-floor structure designed by Arquitectonica featuring 421 apartments and 17,000 square feet of retail, is scheduled to start rising three months later.

Ms. Soler Ramos said despite previous talks to the contrary, Coral Gables commissioners “did not direct [her] office to research or move forward in filing a lawsuit.”

Even in light of recent development, she said, “that has not changed.”

20 Responses to Coral Gables seeks downsizing of five towers in Miami

  1. Michael

    May 1, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Very poor “journalism” using words like “cram” development onto a 7.5 acre site and “paltry” parking provisions. It’s good urban planning to build densely adjacent transit stations with reduced parking.

    • ao

      May 1, 2019 at 4:25 pm

      seriously, what a weird way to write about hundreds of new parking spots in a TOD…

      • AJ

        May 2, 2019 at 10:17 pm

        Think it was supposed to be a quote from the vice mayor, but still inexcusable that there are no quotations around that word if that’s the case

        • Melanie R.

          May 10, 2019 at 1:45 pm

          Can’t wait till you hear about something called paraphrasing

    • BB

      May 2, 2019 at 8:10 am

      It’s better planning not to build such a dense project.

      • Michael

        May 2, 2019 at 5:26 pm

        On what basis is it better planning not build densely next to transit stations?

  2. Michael

    May 1, 2019 at 9:09 am

    If anything, the proper solution is not to continue the low density suburban pattern that pervaded in the past. As a way of serving Coral Gables, it would be better to build another leg of Metrorail that would run north from Douglas Road, serve Douglas Entrance, and then turn east to reconnect to the existing system.

    • Steve

      May 1, 2019 at 1:40 pm

      Apparently there is a shadow municipality operating here in Miami-Dade County, which up to now (unlike other municipalities), has no obligation to advise & consult with adjacent municipalities on its zoning decisions which may affect these communities. Of course we are talking about the Miami-Dade Transit Authority, which has un-checked and unilateral control over zoning matters at the various train and busway properties it controls. Its zoning powers are beyond that of any other municipality in the county. This definitely needs to change…and litigation of this issue by Coral Gables is an excellent way to curb this power.

      • Michael

        May 2, 2019 at 6:02 pm

        Coral Gables had the opportunity to comment on zoning overlay districts. If it conforms to code then it doesn’t need to go through more hearings.

      • Jorge

        May 2, 2019 at 7:51 pm

        Wasting taxpayers money manipulating the law, to impose an obsolete anti development lifestyle isn’t the solution. Get over!!!!

    • No more 35

      May 2, 2019 at 7:47 pm

      Miami wealthy neighborhoods want to perpetuate their 1960s suburban lifestyle, forcing future generations to waste at least a Third of their income on automobile related expenses. A great example of that is the 35 feet Construction Height restriction imposed in the Biscayne Blvd Stagnated MiMo District.

  3. Eric J S

    May 1, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    Agree immensely with the comment about how the journalist uses words like “cram” and “paltry” to describe an urban development. The journalist needs to step into the 21st Century. Miami/Dade is projected to pass 3.2 million by 2025, and we need to prepare for it. Boohoo Coral Gables doesn’t want big buildings at the Metrorail station. Rather have that than sprawl advancing into the Everglades further than it already is.

  4. Joe Miami

    May 1, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    Coral Gables doesn’t want this project. Coconut Grove doesn’t want this project. This is one of the worst intersection on US1 and it would only make it worse. Claiming the Metrorail would alleviate congestion is laughable with its severely limited span. Miami Dade needs to learn to respect the wishes of the neighborhoods they impact with their poor planning.

  5. Rob

    May 1, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    The population density has already overwhelmed the transit systems, both private and public. Loading the present train stations with surrounding high density housing serves no other purpose other than profit. Make more areas attractive for housing by extending metro rail to FIU, west Kendall, and similar areas, west and north, which will increase desirable areas, public transportation,and preserve quality of living in the existing locations. The complaints about cost were unending during metro rail construction, as in other areas such as Washington DC. Now these systems are indispensable. Think like Eisenhower (Interstate highways), not Scrooge. It’s our tax dollars.

  6. Teresita

    May 2, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Hello what abouth the project on Palermo and Ponce de will create much traffic as well. Chritys restaurant.the street behind are so narrow.

  7. William

    May 2, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Coral Gables is right on this one. The county has made a mistake on the zoning density at TOD sites. It has to be in line with the surrounding neighborhoods. This development as envisioned is not cohesive or comprehensive with the surrounding parcels.

  8. Dawson Allen

    May 5, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    There aren’t enough high-paying jobs in Miami. I hope projects like this will attract blue-chip employers, tighten the construction labor market so that union labor standards begin to prevail, fujd more bus and train service through increased ridership, and allow more people to live in areas where work, leisure, and housing are plentiful. Coral Gables should allow backyard ADU rental, too

  9. Marcela Garcia Bonini

    May 5, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    I am so upset and angry at these so-called “developments”. What are they thinking? the area is already overpopulated and the traffic gets worse by the day For us living in High Pines getting north on US1 is a daily nightmare. It’s beyond ridiculous and mindless. When wil they plan something to actually IMPROVE our living conditions instead of making them worse?

    • Jorge

      May 6, 2019 at 11:05 am

      The only overpopulated areas in Miami are the new suburban subdivisions.
      Rezoning the areas close to the Metrorail stations will help families to finally have easier access to mass a transportation system and to get rid of at least one car per household.

    • m

      May 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      It’s ridiculous that so many people have the attitude of “I am the last one who should be allowed in.”