Downtown Miami developer seeks 37-story tower with all off-site parking
A 37-story mixed-use residential tower is planned for the heart of downtown Miami.
To be called The District, the project will include 343 residential units, 2,297 square feet of commercial-retail use, and zero parking.
The developer is requesting a waiver to allow all parking off-site.
The city’s Urban Development Review Board has voted unanimously to recommend approval of the project.
The District is to rise 393 feet, 10 inches at 225 and 233 N Miami Ave.
The site is east of North Miami Avenue, between Northeast Third and Second streets, and near two garages including the Miami Parking Authority’s large Courthouse Center Garage, which is currently being expanded in a public-private partnership.
The application says The District will have retail at ground level and apartments above. Additional paperwork filed by owner-developer Parcel C LLC indicates the building may include hotel uses.
Planned amenities include a gym, racquetball, basketball, multi-purpose lounges, pool-deck and rooftop spa and barbeque area.
“The subtle curve of the tower creates a dynamic simplicity in its appearance. The opening for the pool deck gives breathe to the mass and views in all directions,” says the application.
Iris Escarra, an attorney for the developer, wrote to the city: “The Project is proposed as an urban center project providing for a variety of uses. The Project accomplishes being a traffic node due to its close proximity to the Government Center Metro Mover, Metro Rail Stations, and being located
within a City designated TOD (Transit-Oriented Development).
“The Metro Mover/Rail Stations are located one block from the Property. The Property is also located one block from the Brightline (passenger rail) Station. The Property is well served by bus and trolley routes as well,” she wrote.
She said the project will activate the pedestrian realm while providing additional residential and commercial options in the neighborhood.
“The Project is located within the Downtown Neighborhood which has a variety of retail, cultural, and civic uses near the Project. Therefore, there are several locations which can be reached within a walking distance of the site,” wrote Ms. Escarra.
The developer is requesting waivers to the Miami 21 zoning code including:
■Reduce the primary and secondary frontage setbacks above the eighth story to 10 feet for lots having one dimension less than 100 feet.
■Reduce the side and rear setbacks above the eighth story to 20 feet for lots having one dimension less than 100 feet.
■Permit parking off-site by ownership or lease within 1,000 of the property.
■Allow a 10% increase in the maximum lot coverage.
■Permit two residential loading berths to be substituted for one commercial loading berth.
■Reduce the required minimum ground level setback along the property’s principal frontage along North Miami Avenue and the secondary frontage along Northeast Third Street from 10 feet to zero to match the dominant setback and context of the area.
Ms. Escarra wrote, “The Dominant Setback Survey provides evidence that a zero (0) foot Setback is the common condition in the area and provides the dominant context for the Block.”
She continued: “The Project limits the interaction between vehicles and pedestrians by removing vehicular access to the Property. This will allow pedestrians to enter the Project with no vehicular conflict, as parking will be provided offsite, per the requested Waiver.”
Ms. Escarra said the unusually narrow lot requires a creative design, part of which requires placing required parking off-site, within 1,000 feet, for the commercial use.
“The Downtown Neighborhood, specifically the area surrounding the Property, has had multiple structures constructed with additional parking spaces. The Applicant will secure the required parking spaces, via ownership or lease, at a site within 1,000 feet of the Property prior to the issuance of a building permit.
“Permitting the Waiver for offsite parking will decrease pedestrian/vehicle conflict at the Property, while relieving a practical difficulty. In the T6-80 Transect Zone, there is no required parking for the Residential Uses, due to the Property’s location within a TOD,” Ms. Escarra wrote.
Parcel C LLC is associated with the Related Group.
The site plan and building design were prepared by Sieger Suarez Architects. Charles M. Sieger made the presentation to the board and answered questions.
“You have a very beautiful project, on a very difficult site. The only problem I see is having parking off-site. You’ll have a problem with traffic and dropping off and picking up people,” said board member Fidel Perez.
He suggested moving the lobby off the ground level, to a sky lobby, and create a space for vehicles to drop off or pick up passengers.
“Otherwise, you’ve done an excellent job with this small site,” Mr. Perez said.
Ms. Escarra said the developer has been talking with the county about adding on-street parking along one side of North Miami Avenue.
Board member Anthony Tzamtzis shared concerns about parking to serve the building, and he asked how the developer will make sure to have dedicated parking spaces in the future.
Ms. Escarra said they plan a long-term lease with the Miami Parking Authority for dedicated spaces in the Courthouse garage.
Board member Robert Behar shared concerns about parking and dropping off and collecting persons at the new building.
He also said, “I’m a bit disappointed in the façade of this building. It’s a lost opportunity that you had.”
Board member Robin Bosco praised Mr. Sieger for an excellent effort, adding that “I’m not sure I share some of the aesthetic concerns my colleagues do. I simply don’t think there’s anything wrong … I commend you for your work.”
Board member Ligia Ines Labrada also liked the project, saying it is a “good solution to tight site constraints” and “the site profile is very elegant.”