What Brickell Condo Slump Developer Adds Units
By Eric Kalis
As other Brickell developers downsize or revamp residential project plans, developer Renzo Renzi is trying to add up to 150 units to the long-delayed Beacon at Brickell Village.
Mr. Renzi this week applied to Miami to amend a major use special permit that city commissioners first approved in 2001 for the project at 801 Brickell Plaza, site of the former Mental Health Association building. If commissioners approve, Mr. Renzi would add about 150 residences, for a total of 340, and 12 stories to bring the tower to 448 feet. He’s also applying for 76 more parking spaces, for a total of 440, and about 7,000 square feet of new office and retail space.
The opportunity to expand the project arose from the purchase six months ago of adjacent land, Mr. Renzi said. The transaction allows project planners to replace an existing parking garage, which was the reason for the delay in planning, with a new structure, he said.
The existing garage "had a ramp that was not very functional and we didn’t like it very much," Mr. Renzi said. "We always wanted to buy the piece of land next door to assign parking there and make the project more functional."
Permitting could take up to a year, he said, a period in which project representatives expect to begin marketing the tower. Plans call for a mix of condominium and rental units, he said, but market conditions will dictate unit distribution and prices.
Viability should get a boost from a location at Southeast Eighth Street and First Avenue, Mr. Renzi said, and from more retail tenants building-out stores in nearby mixed-use complex Mary Brickell Village. "This is in a nice area of Brickell that is not done yet," he said. "It is very important to have Mary Brickell open [this fall] right next door. That is key for the success of the area and project."
Plans to enhance Beacon at Brickell Village come as Brickell’s condo e supply is to soar from 5,348 units to 12,299 by the end of 2008. Two projects —The Related Group’s 633-unit 500 Brickell and 1,000-unit The Plaza on Brickell — will add about half the new units.
Other developers such as Tibor Hollo are responding to the potentially crowded Brickell market by modifying residential projects. Mr. Hollo has applied to the city to cut in half luxury condos planned for his Villa Magna project at 1201 Brickell Bay Drive and replace them with a high-end hotel.
A congested Brickell condo market, however, isn’t deterring Mr. Renzi, he said. The city’s residential market "always bounces back," he said. "Miami and other cities may have an oversupply, but it depends on location. When you look at the Biscayne Corridor and see that thousands of units are in the pipeline, that is a problem I see coming. A good location in the middle of Brickell will do well."
Other Renzi Development projects in the pipeline include office tower 100 Alhambra in Coral Gables and apartment building Ocean Sound in Miami Beach.
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