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Front Page » Government » Task force to boost Palmetto Bay revamp

Task force to boost Palmetto Bay revamp

Written by on September 3, 2019
Task force to boost Palmetto Bay revamp

Palmetto Bay’s negotiations over a project that, if approved, will transform the village’s downtown into a modern city center will probably begin this month and include a new task force created to boost public input, Mayor Karyn Cunningham said.

The five-member task force will enter talks alongside Village Manager Ed Silva with developer i3 Interests LLC, which sent an unsolicited proposal to the village in 2018 to redevelop 2.6 acres at 9705 E Hibiscus St., where Palmetto Bay’s village hall, police station and other structures stand.

The village then requested proposals to seek competing bids. It received two, from which it selected i3 Interests as the highest-qualified bidder.

Ms. Cunningham, Vice Mayor John DuBois and fellow council members Patrick Fiore, Marsha Matson and David Singer are each to appoint a person to the  “Manager’s Task Force,” per a July 15 village resolution.

Ms. Cunningham appointed Mr. DuBois to serve as the liaison between the council and task force, whose members are to take recommendations from each council member.

Not every councilperson has appointed a task force member yet, she said.

Having village council members make appointments to an advisory task force to aid in negotiations for a public-private development is something of a departure from typical procedures, the mayor said, but in this case it was appropriate.

“I wanted it to be brought into the public eye rather than behind the scenes,” she said. “There will be public meetings with the manager and task force, and I would assume the developer or a designee will come forward to have discussions and the task force will make a recommendation to the council.”

The council voted June 3 to delay further talks with i3 Interests to the following month, citing an unfinished redrafting of the village’s downtown development code and a need to better define some of the proposal’s features.

During 90 minutes of talks, several village residents voiced concern over the scope of the project, which includes a three-story entertainment center housing a movie theater, expanded village hall with a relocated entrance, mid-range hotel run by a major operator, up to six-story parking garage, senior housing, retail, restaurants and public plaza spaces.

Ms. Cunningham told Miami Today that while she believes the project will be a benefit to Palmetto Bay – an opinion supported by Village Community and Economic Director Maria Pineda – she wants to ensure it conforms to the village’s standards.

“I like the concept of bringing retail, which is something the community has asked for, as well as restaurants and entertainment,” she said. “A component of the project I’ll be keeping an eye on, however, is that it fits with the new downtown urban village code as it relates to height.”

That, she said, is one big reason why she and Mr. Fiore and Singer voted to defer further talks with i3 Interests in June.

Ms. Matson, the sole “no” vote – Mr. DuBois was absent from the meeting – argued at the time that it would be more prudent to wait until the village finished rewriting its code before setting a decision date.

“[Deciding now] is the cart before the horse,” she said. “We’re working on rewriting our code [and] should not have the proposal just outside the door.”

At the same meeting, i3 Interests Principal Rene Joubert said that, upon approval of the project, predevelopment processes would take about a year before construction begins.

Over that time, i3 Interests – comprised of architecture firm Gensler and Burton Construction – would interview contractors specializing in the project’s various parts.

Cost estimates, he said, are based on projections from contractors Gensler spoke with about the project, whose funding would come from three sources: private money, bank loans and village dollars.

“That doesn’t mean the village has to write a big check,” he said, listing land leases or parking revenues as alternate funding sources for the village.

However, the “big check” option would remain on the table, he said, as is the case in Homestead, where i3 Interests is constructing a $51 million mixed development with similar features, as well as a tech-driven “Cybrary.”

Homestead’s contribution to the “Homestead Station” project, Mr. Joubert said, is $33 million.

10 Responses to Task force to boost Palmetto Bay revamp

  1. Diosmin Gutierrez

    September 4, 2019 at 12:43 am

    I think they should think more of the elderly with low income, people that are 70 year old and social the social security ck is $900,per month,senior citizen that have leave in this great country more then half of century, We need a place to leave the last year of our life and there is not enough housing with government assistance for the rent.

  2. Jerry Johnson

    September 4, 2019 at 11:54 am

    The concept is absolutely nuts. Councilwoman Matson is absolutely correct, the Downtown Urban Village rewrite of the code needs to be finalized first. Under the i3 Interests proposal,the Village would lease the land where the movie theater is proposed, to i3, and the entrance to Village Hall would be revamped to face east (who pays for that?). A movie theater on this site is ill conceived. Giving up Village owned land is ill conceived. The Village needs to retain it’s land and in fact, possibly even expand it by purchasing the remaining +/-3 acre Shores parcel to the east. All of this is the tail wagging the dog as a result of the Village not ever having a real Strategic Plan for the development of the Village. The Village by not approving the fully funded extension of 87th Avenue, has created ever increasing traffic chaos by not uncorking the 87th Avenue (& 77th Ave?) bottlenecks. Also Village leadership is aware there will be NO mass transit relief for decades but yet continues to promote huge development projects which will drastically compound the already existing traffic and transit challenges. Development should be restrained (within legal parameters) until AFTER the traffic and mass transit fiascos are resolved and all the myriad lawsuits against the Village are resolved. That would be the prudent thing to do, don’t you think? Also it would be interesting to have the Village disclose the persons that are named to the task force. Bet there are NO folks being appointed to the task force that OPPOSE or question the logic of this development concept…

  3. Kengra Dyenell Fletcher

    September 5, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    This is wrong………

  4. Rosalva

    September 6, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    I have to agree this is crazy. They just constructed Condos literally right across the street on Franjo with God knows how many units which is not on their provided picture of the project plans. As it is, these condos are going to cause more traffic than usual and now they want to add retail stores, movies and hotel… This is suppose to be a quiet residential area, a place to raise kids without worrying of strangers coming up to them while in their front yards, cars speeding down Franjo causing accidents or driving into homes and now after 17 years of living in this neighborhood I have to deal with more people/strangers walking around, traffic, noise, etc…. They are only thinking about dollar signs and not considering the voice of the residential owners who got them in their current positions. This is ridiculous.

    • Jerry Johnson

      September 6, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      They are NOT condominiums that have been approved > they are rental apartments > in fact the original already approved Downtown Urban Village concept authorizes 5,661 apartment units and 1,500,000 square feet of commercial, all in an already traffic clogged, less than one square mile area, and all without any reliable, easily accessible (safe?) mass transit on the horizon for decades > two of the original goals of incorporation were: 1) to “control our zoning” and 2) “protection of our single family lifestyle” > somewhere along the line, the concept of “empire building” came into play and Village residents were forgotten.

  5. Regine Jean-Pierre Joly

    September 6, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    This is really sad and disappointed. Movie theater and Restaurants are low income jobs. The rent to the Palmetto Station is outraged. We are at a housing crisis for our young professionals and elderly. No solution for traffic. I live in the area it takes me 30 minutes to get to the falls for work. No one cares about our seniors and young professionals that want to contribute to our community but the politicians change but the same situation. The decisions have been made you do not care about what our community is facing. Someone that love and care for our young and seniors.

  6. Calvin Humphrey

    September 6, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    With the new condo on US# 1 by mc donalds. And palmetto bay station.and no new need to spred money on solutions concerning traffic.

    • Jerry Johnson

      September 7, 2019 at 5:33 pm

      The buildings going up are NOT “for sale – owner occupied” condominiums, they are RENTAL apartments. There is a difference.

  7. Kathy Sparger

    September 7, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    I fully support the I3 development project for a much needed town center.
    We are a family community and this would enhance our community.
    A place to take our family to a common area.

  8. Larry. D. Crumbley

    September 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    This is what happens when some of the smaller areas of Miami-Dade County think??