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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami Aims To Give Incity Bidders A Bigger Advantage For Its Contracts

Miami Aims To Give Incity Bidders A Bigger Advantage For Its Contracts

Written by on April 21, 2011

By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Florida East Coast Realty, headed by Tibor Hollo, is hoping to get its construction permit from the City of Miami by month’s end to begin building the 35-story Sonesta Mikado Hotel & Residences in the Omni area.

Construction of the hotel, residences and office space is estimated to cost north of $78 million, said Jerome Hollo, Florida East Coast Realty vice president.

"We are in the final reviews on the permit side," he said. "We are hoping by the end of this month to have a construction permit and could get started shortly after. That’s our hope."

With financing secured for the project, slated for an empty site at 1701 NE Fourth Ave., this could be the first high-rise development to start in the Omni area this year.

The only other project soon to rise in the neighborhood is a Publix supermarket at 1776 Biscayne Blvd.

Last month, Miami’s Omni Community Redevelopment Agency approved giving Florida East Coast a break on tax-increment fund contributions.

This means the agency is to reimburse the developer for any tax-increment funds generated from the project’s hotel and commercial portion up to $600,000 a year. This agreement commits Florida East Coast to give priority to city residents for the jobs Sonesta Mikado’s construction and operations create.

"I think it’s great for us and the CRA," Mr. Hollo said. "The funds are used to spur construction within the CRA district and create jobs. It benefits all parties."

Between construction jobs and post-building positions, total jobs created would top 1,000, he estimated.

The Asian-themed hotel, with 250 hotel rooms and 119 suites for rent or sale, is to be managed by Sonesta, a Boston-based company that owns a hotel in Coconut Grove.

This would be the next hotel Sonesta manages in Miami-Dade.

Stephanie Sonnabend, CEO and president of Sonesta International Hotels Corp., didn’t immediately comment.

The residential component has been tweaked, Mr. Hollo said, as it will now be geared toward independent living for active adults. This concept is expected to attract adults who want to live a more urban lifestyle and benefit from the hotel amenities.

This is for "people who don’t want to live in a house," he said. "They want to live with other active adults and take advantage of what the city has to offer and the conveniences of a hotel."

The Omni neighborhood is bustling with restaurants and entertainment venues, including Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, as its residential population continues to grow. This attracts prospective condo buyers.

The mixed-use complex is to also encompass 50,000 square feet of medical offices, which Mr. Hollo said are especially needed now that more residents call the area home. This prime site is the last piece of a large mixed-use development that Florida East Coast planned in the Omni area. Already finished are 42-story luxury apartment building Bay Parc Plaza and the 635-unit luxury condominium Opera Tower.

The Sonesta Mikado project is expected to take about two years to build.

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