1.9 million square feet planned for string of Blue Lagoon towers
A major residential mixed-use project planned near Miami International Airport will include a series of 12-story buildings with retail on the first floor, parking in the pedestal level and residential units above. The city’s Urban Development Review Board recommended approval.
Owner-developer PAJ Investment Group LLC plans to build Miami City Center at 735 NW 57th Ave. and 5627 NW Seventh St. Fill is to be brought in on two parcels of submerged land on the Blue Lagoon for the project.
The overall development will have 1,908,500 square feet of floor area.
Miami City Center will include 1,333 residential units, 41,438 square feet of commercial-retail uses and parking for up to 2,589 vehicles, and have 108 bike racks.
The site is north of Northwest Seventh Street, just east of Northwest 57th Avenue and south of the airport.
In a letter of intent, attorney Elinette Ruiz-Diaz de la Portilla wrote: “As detailed in the enclosed plans prepared by Kobi Karp Architects … the project will contain 1,333 multi-family apartments, 41,438 +/- SF of ground-floor commercial space, together with off-street parking, situated within several 12 story buildings, all located within the property.
“One of the project’s essential features is 172,704 (square feet) of open space provided where only 39,204 (square feet) are required by Miami 21 allowing for expansive green space, sleeker buildings and majestic view corridors with vast views of Blue Lagoon; all in all a better product for the surrounding neighborhood and community,” she wrote.
The applicant is requesting waivers, including:
■A 10% access aisle width reduction, proposing 22 feet where 23 feet is required.
■Substitute commercial loading berth by residential berths; proposing two residential berths where one commercial berth is required.
■A shared access waiver. Parking will provide safe and convenient access to and from public thoroughfares which include movement lanes and public frontages.
■A waiver for access from a principal frontage. Proposing that a private road be considered a principal frontage where waiver access from principal frontage is required.
Attorney Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, representing PAJ, told the board the two parcels will be about 9 acres.
Mr. Diaz de la Portilla said, “One of the distinguishing features is the open space, nearly four and half times more than is required.”
Mr. Karp presented some of the details, noting that people will be able to walk into and through the site, with creation of town squares and clear delineation to public right of ways.
“This is an opportunity to create a unique destination that opens up the waterfront … people can walk (along the water), kayak, have a positive experience, a pedestrian-friendly experience,” said Mr. Karp.
“People will have engagement with the waterfront,” he said.
Mr. Karp said the parking will be below grade. With a height restriction, being so close to the airport, it is more cost efficient to go below grade, he said.
Board member Robert Behar said, “I commend you for doing something giving access to the waterway. The public access point is fantastic. I commend you and your client. I think the project is excellent.”
Board member Fidel Perez said, “I feel the same. The project has a lot of good features.”
Acting board chairman Ignacio Permuy said, “Job well done … you’ve done an exceptional job in breaking up the massing, and the open space will encourage the pedestrian experience.”