The design of apartments proposed to replace the Belle Isle Key Apartments is too tall and bulky, Miami Beach planners say, and “will dramatically change the scale and character of Belle Isle.”.
In a staff analysis prepared for the Miami Beach Design Review Board, Planning Director Richard Lorber says the proposal for 31 Venetian Way tries to cram too many apartments in too small a space, and will block views of Biscayne Bay.
The developer, Euroamerican Group, Inc., has asked to replace the four buildings that make up the red-tile-roofed apartment complex with a new five-story building. They want to go from 120 units to 178, with 316 parking spaces in a five-story parking garage. It would include two tennis courts on top of the garage.
It would include a public baywalk, accesible from Venetian Way and Island Avenue.
At the Design Review Board’s May 4 meeting, board members expressed frustration that the plans hadn’t been walked by the Belle Isle Residents Association. They now are planning to show the plans to the residents’ association on Monday, said residents’ association president Scott Dieffenderfer. That presentation happens at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave., at 7 p.m.
They go back before the Design Review Board on July 6.
The planners object to the scale of the project, and say it blocks the Bay from public view, even though it includes a “view corridor between the two buildings. From their report (in vintage planner speak): “The massing of the buildings effectively broadsides Biscayne Bay, and unnecessarily impedes important view corridors.”
“…the five-story massing overwhelms the historic Venetian Causeway, which in addition to being locally designated, is listed on the National Register and is designated as an American Scenic Highway. Reducing the height of the structure would help….”
The report says the scale of the building is especially out of character when seen from the Sunset Harbor area and Maurice Gibb/Island View park.
“With an overall length of 600 feet, these buildings will dramatically change the scale and character of Belle Isle,” the planner said.