Brickell Bay Tower Residents Cast Wary Eye On Developers Plan
By Claudio Mendonca
With construction to begin soon on its Everglades on the Bay condos downtown, CABI, a Mexican development company based in Aventura, is planning to erect a 192-unit residential building on Brickell Bay Drive near Southeast 14th Street.
As with the Everglades project, CABI didn’t choose vacant land for its Brickell target. CABI leveled a 1926-vintage 17-story hotel on the site this week. The new structure would rise above a parking lot belonging to one of the city’s oldest condo buildings.
But that is pending approval of the building’s 214 condo owners.
"First we have to see if this is legally possible," said Ted Slack, who lives at Brickell Bay Tower, 1408 Brickell Bay Dr., built in 1964. "All we have is preliminary information. It will take our law firm, Becker & Poliakoff, two weeks to research and come up with conclusions."
The first step, Mr. Slack said, is to find out whether the project would be legal. Then, the developer would have to acquire air rights.
Florida law requires permission of unit owners to significantly change a condo property, Mr. Slack said, and a sale to CABI must be discussed among Brickell Tower’s owners. A meeting, he said, should occur in February.
"When someone owns real estate, not only do they own surface of the land but they own below and above as well," said Mr. Slack, a real estate appraiser. "Right now, we have no idea if we want to do it and don’t know if legally we could do it."
A spokeswoman for public-relations firm Gordon Reyes, representing CABI, said the firm wants to wait a couple of weeks before commenting on the new development.
"It is a complicated issue," Mr. Slack said. "Constructing a building on top of parking garages is totally novel to me. We were really surprised when we heard about it. Once we have a meeting with owners and once we have the opinion from our lawyers, we will move ahead."