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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami River boat showroom OK’d, restaurant leaves bad taste

Miami River boat showroom OK’d, restaurant leaves bad taste

Written by on December 3, 2019
Miami River boat showroom OK’d, restaurant leaves bad taste

The Miami River Commission on Monday approved in concept the plans of Puntallana LLC to put a six-story commercial building and an ancillary restaurant on a riverfront parcel at 301 and 311 NW South River Drive in the Riverside section of Little Havana.

The small lot has an irregular shape and is now underutilized, said a petition by Steven Wernick of Wernick & Co., attorney for Arturo Ortega, Puntallana LLC’s managing principal. It’s home to a one-story warehouse built in 1946 and a vacant two-story structure built in 1951.

The warehouse will be demolished and replaced by a six-story building with offices, a showroom and storage space for tenant NuMarine, which manufactures, outfits and sells yachts, while the two-story building will be renovated as the restaurant.

“We do not want another restaurant,” said Carlos Salas, president of the Spring Garden Civic Association. “We hear noise all Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Imagine adding another.”

There is also no parking onsite, which worried several commission members, including Eileen Higgins, a county commissioner whose district includes Little Havana.

“My concern is parking,” she said. “That road is a two-lane cow path. Uber and Lyft drivers cannot be blocking that street.”

Mr. Ortega said his company also owns two parking lots at 742 NW Fourth St. and 720 NW Second St., and would offer valet service to and from the restaurant; there is also on-street parking. The site is in a transit corridor where parking requirements may be eased.

“There is a residential neighborhood to the west,” Ms. Higgins said. “We don’t want to create a neighborhood of parking lots, and the coming and going of parking guys running back and forth with keys late into the night is going to be disruptive to residents.”

Rogue behavior on the river by pleasure boaters and jet skiers who tie up at restaurants is also a neighborhood issue.

“The quality of life in Spring Garden and Little Havana has been ruined by the restaurants on North River Drive,” said resident Rick Deever. “Don’t ruin it on South River Drive, too.”

The site has dockage for four boats, but NuMarine will probably use those slips, Mr. Ortega said.

“I have a lot of concern about the ramping up of vessels,” said commissioner Philip Everingham, the designee of Michael Karcher, chair of the Marine Council. “I’m not sure the restaurant is going to be concerned with it over the weekend.”

“NuMarine wants to protect its boats from injury,” Mr. Ortega said. “They don’t want misbehavior.” No recreational docking is allowed by lease, he added.

“There has to be give and take,” said commissioner Thomas Kimen III, the designee of Dr. Ernest Martin, a neighborhood representative appointed by the Miami Commission. “This is an incredibly challenging site, and across the river from Casablanca, Garcia’s and Crust [restaurants]. Keep in mind that the river presents a complex variety of issues.”

By tying the owner up with restrictions, the commission would be prohibiting him from the use of his property, said Horacio Stuart Aguirre, the group’s chair.

The commission voted to approve the application, with the addition of the offsite parking and the requirement that if NuMarine ends its lease, the commission be notified within 30 days. Commissioners Frank Balzebre (a designee of Mayor Carlos Giménez), Patricia Harris (a designee of former Gov. Rick Scott), and Rosy Noguera (a designee of Sara C Babun, an appointee of the county commission) dissenting. Ms. Higgins had left the meeting before the vote.

11 Responses to Miami River boat showroom OK’d, restaurant leaves bad taste

  1. Michael

    December 4, 2019 at 8:54 am

    Complaining about restaurants in an urban area is ridiculous. I could see a problem if they’re open all night, but if they close at a decent hour, there shouldn’t be a problem.

    • Sergio

      December 4, 2019 at 1:11 pm

      These neighborhood associations are just NIMBY busybodies opposed to any sort of progress. I have yet to understand how in a free market society your neighbors have the right to impinge on Your Property. Things like historic district should require 100% buy-in. If even one homeowner opposes it, forget history. Also, city commission meetings should not be at a time when most normal people are working.The hours give too much power to the NIMBYS.

    • M Stein

      December 10, 2019 at 9:28 am

      It’s commercial structures adjacent to single family homes in a residential neighborhood. Urban area is a stretch.

      It’s Miami. Just what hours do you think they will wnt to keep. Then ask if it is a restaurant or a bar hiding behind food service?

      What ever happened to transitional zoning? This abuse is why people demand a stop. Progress is one thing, defacing a neighborhood is a crime.

      • Michael

        December 10, 2019 at 5:59 pm

        It’s very close to downtown Miami and Metrorail, so yes urban.

  2. Spring Garden Historic District

    December 5, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Residents of Spring Garden Historic District are very proud of all the efforts we have made throughout the years to protect our neighborhood and historic designation. It is very difficult for residents to go to a meeting in the middle of the day which shows how passionate we are about protecting our historic district. We all need to take time off from work and away from friends and family to ensure our voice is heard. Countless volunteer hours go on behinds the scene talking to developers/attorneys about proposed plans in an effort to come to an amicable solution. Currently many residents in Little Havana are upset with the growing number of tourists and noise coming from the new Little Havana entertainment district. Spring Garden would like to ensure any additional noise is limited while ensuring progress for future developments and proper parking/handicap parking in an effort not to effect nearby residents. Its not common to see new restaurants being proposed in the Gables, Miami Shores or the Roads disturbing the quality of life and value of single family homes. P.S. Homes in Spring Garden start at $500K+. Moreover, residents of Silver Bluff have been severely impacted by the on going development, noise and cut through traffic.

  3. Michael

    December 6, 2019 at 11:48 am

    People with an interest in this issue should also look at the zoning and future land use maps.

  4. NimbyOne

    December 9, 2019 at 6:42 am

    NIMBYs rule!

  5. NIMBYbuster

    December 9, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Aren’t most single family homes in Miami proper $500+? I don’t know that this is a bragging point about Spring Gardens…

  6. M Stein

    December 10, 2019 at 9:22 am

    NIMBY is a sorry attack. Property rights are property rights. Why should a residential neighborhood be forced to “take one for the team?” The project is not consistent with the neighborhood. There are properties available for this type of development but no, let’s just shove down the throats of less politically influential people and then accuse them of not getting it.

    You know who doesn’t get it? Predatory developers interested only in their profits. Wake up sleepers. This are not good planning.

    The neighborhood didn’t ask to be fixed. Property values are not a problem. Homes are not distressed. So why should anyone be allowed to build a six story building and restaurant next to existing single family homes?

    It is not NIMBY it is NAME (Not At My Expense)

    Be a NAMEr and demand your property rights are protected.

  7. Michael

    December 10, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    So, only some people have property rights? If the developer has zoning that allows him to build at urban-core designation density, then why should he be denied his rights? Just because the area is currently single-family residential doesn’t mean that it should stay that way.

    • M Stein

      December 11, 2019 at 8:39 pm

      Yes, correct. Only people have property rights. Whatbother spe CV is do you contend have property rights?

      Why should owners of single family homes be pushed out. They paid their dues and made their sacrifices. What right do you or anyone else have to take that away?

      The reason young people cannot afford homes is developers building for the affluent. Starter homes are being eliminated for overpriced apartments. Gen X’ers are buying homes later in life.