That’s the topline response from our correspondent at Wednesday night’s Belle Isle Residents Association at the Belle Plaza condo to review plans for several key projects on our little island. Let’s break it down:
— Belle Isle apartment complex at 31 Venetian Way. What we have today is an apartment development called Belle Isle Key, three stories high, a little long in the tooth, 120 units spread over about three acres. What’s proposed: 179 units in five-story buildings topped by a tennis deck. Sharp and modern architecturally, mostly small one-bedrooms (700 square feet) and some two-bedrooms (900 square feet). 269 parking spaces. Cool hole in the middle so you can see the bay from the street. So, it’s taller, and has more units. But it’s a better design than originally proposed, with what seems like a reasonable parking ratio.
It won’t happen too soon. It hasn’t been approved by the city yet. It goes before the Design Review Board on Tuesday at 11 a.m. And even if it is approved by them, it’s probably two years before construction would begin.
— Venetian Causeway Streetscape Improvements. Last we heard, work was going to begin at the end of 2009, but that didn’t happen. Now, because of a bid protest, the target for starting work is up in the air, but will begin within 30 days of final approval. Work will take place from Biscayne to Belle Isle. It’s mostly beautification, with a little reconstruction, primarily under the bridges. The man in charge of both aspects, Juan Paan with Public Works, said the job will take one year from start to finish, but they don’t expect any closures, just some one lane-ing with flagmen.
— The new pumping station at Belle Isle Park. Since the big flood last year, another design flaw became apparent that results pooling of water on the street. You may have driven through this without knowing that much of the pooling water is salt water, which is really bad for your car. Now, the city has forced the designer to come up with a fix, which they hope will work. Cross your fingers.
— The South Beach Loop bus route. The residents’ association worked for years to get this route. But it isn’t exactly what the association sought. It was supposed to go from Belle Isle east to Washington Avenue, but it turns at West Avenue instead. There is a meeting on Jan. 20 with Jorge Gomez to see if he can tweak the route to what was originally proposed. Right now, a random survey showed about five to seven riders on any given bus.