Tag Archives: WAVNA

Road construction outlook: MacArthur overnight closures and a 17th Street stoppage

There isn’t much that can surprise us in the way of road closures and detours, so just use this for road warrior planning for the upcoming week:

– The MacArthur Causeway will be closed overnight Tuesday and Wednesday eastbound starting at Biscayne Boulevard, as more signage and finishing touches go on the Port of Miami tunnel. FDOT says the closures will start a 10 p.m. both nights, but Belle Isle Blog bets Tuesday’s closure will be delayed an hour because the current schedule has the causeway closing to Miami Beach just as the Heat-Nets playoff game will be ending, and that seems like a big mistake.

– 17th Street closing at Alton Road. This is a big one, so get ready for it. On Sunday May 11, between 7:30 p.m. and midnight, 17th Street will be completely closed between Alton Road and Alton Court as reconstruction begins on the west side of the intersection.

– Meanwhile, in the midst of the Alton Road construction and the traffic spillover to West Avenue, our friends with the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association are proud to report that FDOT has installed activated pedestrian crosswalks to make crossing that busy street safer. Hopefully, the blinking lights will help drivers understand that pedestrians have the right of way. Congrats!

Towering highrise proposed for West Avenue

Rendering of proposed rental/retail at South Shore.

Rendering of earlier proposed rental/retail at South Shore.

Remember developer Russell Galbut’s plans for 600 Alton Road?

In early 2013, the developer had a series of community meetings for a proposal to use the property — between West Avenue and Alton Road and Fifth and Seventh streets including the old (and abandoned) South Shore Hospital building — as a large rental-retail commercial project.

He got some neighborhood buy in.

In summary, the project called for 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant uses on the ground floor, 444 apartments, 1,073 parking spaces below ground. A new seven-story building was to be built on the 500 block of Alton Road, and a five-story building on the 600 block. The South Shore Hospital building, 10 stories, would be rehabbed and included.

That was the tallest part of the project.

Fast-forward a year. Tonight, Galbut’s Crescent Heights company is teaming with Jorge Perez’s Related Companies to pitch the neighborhood on a 50-story tower on the site.

Belle Isle Blog believes it would be the tallest building on Miami Beach — or at least the one with the most floors (Green and Blue Diamond have those triangles on top of their 44 floors, rising to 559 feet).

The meeting happens at 6:30 p.m. at the Related South Beach Sales Center, 91 Collins Avenue.

There is a a model of the tower on display from all day today at that center.

MacArthur Causeway disruptions tonight, key community meetings next week

The lane closures related to the Port of Miami Tunnel project continue tonight, although this one is a bit more distant to Miami Beach.

Drivers on Interstate 95 north who want to head east to Miami Beach won’t be able to get on the ramp to eastbound I-395 starting at 10 p.m. through 5:30 a.m.

Workers will be installing new sign structures and panels related to the tunnel.

Meanwhile, two key neighborhood meetings happen next week:

– The West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association (WAVNA) is hosting a town hall with State Rep. David Richardson at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The state Legislature begins its session on March 2, and this gathering, at Oliver’s Bistro (West Avenue and Ninth Street) will be a chance to get a preview on everything from the Alton Road construction project to gambling and the use of red light cameras. .

– The Belle Isle Residents Association holds its annual meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave. There will be a gathering with refreshments beforehand.

Happy Monday. The rain gave the Alton Road flyover a reprieve

Things to know as we start another work week:

– Sunday night’s rain led the Florida Department of Transportation to delay the closure of the Alton Road flyover for a day. It closes tonight — weather permitting, we suppose. Detour plan is the same. We’d say enjoy it, but we wonder if that is possible….

– The Alton Road Reconstruction Coalition, the grassroots group pushing for a more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly rebuild of Alton Road, is making headway. Due to thei group’s lobbying — and the efforts of state Rep. David Richardson and the West Avenue Neighborhood Corridor Association — FDOT has devised three alternative plans that will be discussed at Wednesday’s Miami Beach City Commission meeting.  The options include wider sidewalks. The Miami Herald reported on it from last week’s WAVNA meeting.

– FDOT has restored on-street parking on the east side of Alton Road between 12th and 16th Street until construction resumes in that area. The area has been re-striped and placed in its original configuration, the city of Miami Beach say.  On the west side of Alton, parking will be allowed intermittently as drainage tests are done.

Have a safe week.

Planning board considers 17th Street hotel at 5 p.m.; expect a crowd

Rendering of the hotel from the Collins Canal.

Rendering of the hotel from the Collins Canal.

The Miami Beach Planning Board has scheduled a 5 p.m.  hearing on the proposed Marriott Residence Inn on 17th Street and West Avenue.

Expect a big crowd and a lengthy discussion.

The Finvarb Group wants to build a 116-room hotel on the property. It’s a sleek five-story hotel designed by architect Kobi Karp, with 66 parking spaces.

The property, owned by the Miami Beach Housing Authority, is tight, tucked between 17th Street and the Collins Canal, west of the apartment building that houses the Vespa store and other retail, and the Boston Market on Alton Road.

A coalition of neighborhood groups — including the Belle Isle Residents Association, the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association, Venetian Causeway Homeowners Association and six more — are asking the Planning Board to delay approval until the city can better study its impact on traffic. They have also suggested the property should be preserved as green space.

They are urging their members to show up at the meeting wearing red.

In a letter to Planning Board members, BIRA President Scott Diffenderfer said the impact of the planned West Avenue bridge, which will form the west boundary of the hotel property, needs to be considered in the plan, along with the expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Planning Board members also will hear from supporters of the project, many of whom posted comments during the weekend on BelleIsleBlog. Several praised the design and said a hotel like a Residence Inn — which caters to business travelers and longer stays — would be an amenity to residents who have friends and family visiting. They also argue that the hotel would have less impact on traffic than other businesses that could be built on the property, like a fast food restaurant or a drug store.

In its analysis of the proposal, city of Miami Beach planners recommended approving it, subject to many conditions. The on-site restaurant must be for hotel guests only. The roof-top pool must close by 11 p.m. The hotel has to provide a shuttle for employees who park off-site. And more.

The project still must be scrutinized by the Miami Beach Design Review Board.

Miami Beach to discuss ban on West Avenue hotel developments

The Miami Beach Planning Board is scheduled to consider a couple items important to West Avenue residents today:

– The proposed apartment and retail complex that includes the old South Shore Hospital building called 600 Alton Road;

– New rules governing that would ban new hotel uses on West Avenue and in the Palm View Neighborhood.

The West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association has pushed for the hotel restrictions, driven in large part by issues with the Mondrion Hotel, a luxury property at 1100 West Avenue, and the Bikini Hotel, a party-themed property between 12th and 13th streets and West.

The association is encouraging West Avenue residents to attend the hearing, scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., and has an online petition residents can access to show their support for the restrictions.

The proposal also addresses the Palm View neighborhood, located south of Dade Boulevard and north of 17th Street between Lenox Court and Meridian Avenue.

In the  staff report of the proposal, Miami Beach planners said the Planning Board might want to consider some exceptions to an outright ban. Among them: conditional uses, limits on hours of operations for restaurants, prohibitions on outdoor uses.


West Avenue neighborhood group meets Thursday

WAVNA — the West Avenue Neighborhood Corridor Neighborhood Association — holds its March meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens with a host of issues on the agenda:

– An update on the long-awaited (and somewhat dreaded) Alton Road reconstruction project, which is scheduled to start Monday — April Fools Day.

– The status of the 600 Alton Road project, which would put retail, restaurants and a 440-unit apartment complete between West Avenue and Alton Road north of Fifth Street. The project includes the South Shore Hospital site.

– Efforts to combat neighborhood nuisances, including the Bikini Hostel, the party-themed youth hostel at 12th Street and West Avenue.

The Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr., is a cool venue, and the meeting kicks off with a little social. The association would appreciate an RSVP.


After much talk, Miami Beach Planning Board delays decision on 600 Alton Road

The Miami Beach Planning Board heard  developer Russell Galbut’s plans for his 600 Alton Road residential and retail project (and residents dissection of it) for nearly four hours Tuesday before postponing a final decision on the 444-apartment complex until its April 3 meeting.

“We all agreed that much more time would be needed to hear the board member’s views on the project and then discuss them,” board member Charles Urstadt said after the meeting. “So, the board voted to continue the application to to next meeting (April 3) in order to give the other applicants” on Tuesday’s agenda a chance to have their applications heard.
Several other items were deferred as well, including a controversial proposal to reduce parking requirements at hotels and rules for mechanical parking garages.
In regard to 600 Alton Road, there was a lot to talk about — potential problems with 1073 parking spaces underground in one of Miami Beach’s most flood-prone neighborhoods, how traffic will move through an already congested area, how late to allow restaurants and bars to stay open along residential West Avenue, the possibility of a bar on the rooftop for residents  and more.

The discussion went on from about 4:30 p.m. to nearly 8 p.m., and was tweeted live by The Miami Herald’s Christina Veiga.

In general, the project got a favorable review, with some rough spots. The city planning staff report recommended its approval, with myriad conditions. In Tuesday’s meeting, much of discussion involved the developer’s concerns with the staff report — as well as several areas where residents and the board wanted more information.

But first, here are some vital features and stats on the huge project, which includes property between Alton Road and West Avenue between Fifth and Seventh streets:

– It calls for 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant uses on the ground floor, 444 apartments, 1,073 parking spaces below ground.

– A new seven-story building will be constructed on the 500 block of Alton Road, and a five-story building on the 600 block.

– The dilapidated South Shore Hospital building, 10 stories, would be rehabbed and included in the project.

– The 60,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the ground level allow pedestrians to walk open air through the base of the project. Outdoor restaurants on West Avenue side would have to close by midnight.

If the project clears the Planning Board, it would next be reviewed by the Design Review Board.

Galbut to present 600 Alton Road plans to West Avenue association

Rendering of proposed rental/retail at South Shore.

Rendering of proposed rental/retail at South Shore.

The owners of South Shore Hospital, the gutted structure at the foot of the MacArthur Causeway that’s been an eyesore since Hurricane Wilma in October 2005, will present plans for a new development on the property at a community meeting on Tuesday at the Miami Beach Golf Course.

The meeting, which starts at 6 p.m., is a preview for the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association. WAVNA asks residents who plan to attend to RSVP.

South Shore, at 630 Alton Rd, had closed well before before Wilma blew out about 100 windows from the structure on Oct. 24, 2005. In the years since, it has deteriorated further, and owner Crescent Heights has proposed several different plans for development, including a big mall and residential tower.

That controversial plan drew opposition from neighborhood associations on West Avenue and South of Fifth. It also created a controversy when Crescent Heights owner Russell Galbut sought to hold a design charrette at Miami Beach City Hall for the development. He ultimately moved that meeting to the Shelbourne Hotel, which Crescent Heights owns.

The latest plan, is believed to be a simpler proposal with street-level retail and rental apartments above.


West Avenue neighborhood fights liquor license sought by Bikini Hostel

On its website, Bikini Hostel sells skin.

On its website, Bikini Hostel sells skin.

You may not know it, but there’s a youth hostel down the street on West Avenue with a name you might expect more for a soft-core movie than a lodging residence: Bikini Hostel.

If it sounds a little scandalous, here’s a snippet from the About section of the Bikini Hostel website:

Party! Party! Party! You will be able to party all night long and then sleep any time in quiet and comfort…Staying at the Bikini Hostel Resort, you are across the street from the intra-coastal water way views of Miami Beach—tropical palm tree islands, downtown Miami— nightly lit up skyline and the weekend DJ pool parties at the Mondrian Hotel – where the hottest beautiful bodies groove to the sexiest music and play in the sun all day long!

Well, then.

The Bikini Hostel is comprised of an apartment building at 1247 West Ave., and two adjacent homes, at 1255 West Ave and 1234 13 St.

More from bikinihostel.com

More from bikinihostel.com

The West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association isn’t exactly thrilled to have the hostel in their hood. And even less thrilled with the prospect of the place getting a liquor license.  What to do?

They are petitioning to block the request. The petition says, in part:

The Bikini Hostel is a nuisance as it is but adding a license to alcohol will only make it worse. The hostel is incompatible with this highly residential and stable community. We oppose the Bikini Hostel’s application for a liquor license.

Of course, there are several places to buy beer, wine or hard liquor near the hostel — certainly within a three block walk.