Major housing development on US 1 advances
The vastly changed area of Bird Road and US 1 in Miami is getting another major mixed-use residential development.
Called Shoma Douglas, the multi-family rental project was reviewed May 12 during a special virtual meeting of the city’s Urban Development Review Board, with board members and city staff participating through video conferencing.
The board recommended approval with a few recommendations.
Masmar Investments LLC is the applicant and plans the large project on property at 3650 Bird Road, owned by Deel Realty Inc.
The current building on the property, originally built in 1952 and used as a car dealership, will be demolished.
The owner-developer is identified as Shoma Group.
The developer plans 327 multi-family units, plus 64 micro units, in two 18-story towers, sharing a structured garage with 536 spaces.
Shoma Douglas will also have work-live units on the ground floor, and some commercial-retail space.
The entire project will be 575,414 square feet, with office space of 4,088 square feet. The towers are designed at a height of 176 feet, 4 inches.
The city’s zoning code requires open space of 10%, which would be 10,438 square feet, and this project will provide open space of 44,492 square feet or 43% of the parcel.
The 2.3-acre property is east of Southwest 37th Avenue, south of Bird Road, and northwest of the Metrorail Douglas Road Station.
Mario Garcia-Serra, an attorney representing Masmar, told the board the project will have a “vast array of amenities” for tenants and ground floor retail.
The project is being built at a very key point in the City of Miami, and is fitting for this location, he said.
The project is designed to interact with The Underline, Miami’s planned 10-mile linear park and urban trail, said Mr. Garcia-Serra.
In a letter to the city, he detailed five waivers being requested:
■Access from primary streets. Zoning requires that parking be accessed from a secondary frontage when available. This property has three primary frontages; Bird Road, Douglas Road and the Metrorail right-of-way. The applicant is requesting a waiver to allow vehicle access from both Bird Road and Douglas Road. Since access will be provided from two frontages, traffic will be dispersed, the letter said.
■A 10% reduction in required parking.
■A 10% reduction in primary frontage second layer parking garage setback, in order to provide adequate civic space fronting the planned Underline.
■Permission to build a cross-block passage coverage, proposed from Bird Road south through the project.
■Zoning requires parking to be within the third layer, which is typically at a 25-foot distance from the base building line. The applicant seeks a 10% reduction to permit parking placement at 22 feet, 6 inches. This deviation along Bird Road and the Metrorail will have little impact on the aesthetics, and pedestrian and vehicle experience, particularly when the applicant provides the art treatment proposed, the letter said.
Mr. Garcia-Serra wrote that the applicant proposes an art treatment for the entire portion of the pedestal façade where the parking extends into the second layer. The proposed art treatment is made of a two-tone perforated metal panel with backlighting.
“The panel is three-dimensional and provides a neutral tasteful palette of gunmetal and iron ore colors, which provide contrast against the white façade of the building. The panel was inspired by intricate Middle Eastern mosaic tile patterns. Although stationary, the kaleidoscope-like geometric patterns in the panel create a vivid sense of movement, evocative of the fast-paced city,” Mr. Garcia-Serra wrote.
Beatriz Hernandez of MSA Architects told the board the project will offer private amenities, including a pool, fitness spa, dog parlor and more but also includes public amenities like a pedestrian paseo and open civic spaces.
“All sides of our site are treated as a front,” she said. The paseo is to connect to the future Underline.
Along Bird Road will be a highly amenitized space, she said, including a bike shop where tenants can work on and store their bikes.
Board member Robin Bosco asked if the bike shop is an amenity for the tenants only or an actual retail bike shop.
Ms. Hernandez said it will be an amenity for all residents of the towers.
Mr. Bosco asked if they considered a retail bike shop.
“We can consider that. It makes some sense,” she said.
Mr. Bosco said, “I’d be in favor of activating this facility for more than just the apartments (but) for the surrounding community, to make it more active.”
Board member Willy Bermello asked about the pedestrian paseo’s role in the layout.
Ms. Hernandez said the design of the paseo is led by requirements in the zoning code, and they view it as “a kind of a crosswalk to The Underline.”
“I do appreciate the civic spaces,” said board member Ignacio Permuy, but he voiced concern about the added vehicles coming and going from the project.
“When this opens up, there’s going to be a lot more traffic,” he said.
In the end, the board voted 5-0 to recommend approval with four recommendations: work with staff to provide vehicle entry along the paseo on the south; have a clearer division of the public and private spaces, identifying fencing and access points; designate parking spaces for certain uses, such as the work-live units; and consider the bike shop also have a retail component.