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.


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

  1. The HOAs that claim to represent homeowners & residents on the Venetian Causeway have a political agenda and don’t speak for the majority of us. The fact is, most folks in this community don’t belong to any of these HOAs and we were never polled as to our opinions on the issue. A few “activists” who run these groups have either a personal or political motive and use their titles as HOA president (for example) as leverage with the City. The City should know that they really don’t represent the masses. Where have these green leaders been all these years? The small parcel on 17th has been sitting there for decades. Only now, when a reputable company with a sound business plan to create a beautiful boutique style hotel wants to invest in the City, do we see any involvement by these so-called HOA leaders.

    We all know that Miami Beach is a very green City. I love the green spaces in town. We have great parks, dog parks and green medians. In fact, we are a shining example for other Cities across the country of how to create green space within a City. The HOA activists who are claiming to represent the people of the Venetian Causeway and oppose the development of this project may have the attention of the City and local bloggers, but they don’t have one thing. They don’t have the consensus of the people. I believe if you polled all homeowners on the Venetian Causeway right now, you’d find overwhelming support for the new, affordable and well designed hotel that is proposed. The Belle Isle blog is one confirmation of this. Check out last week’s blog on the issue and the subsequent responses from locals. Most are very much in favor of this project. The architectural drawing is modern, clean and very attractive. The benefit to the City in tax dollars would be substantial and help fund City projects like public works and parks. The fact that we’d be getting rid of a run down, often transient occupied piece of property that has served as nothing more than blight in our community is definitely the icing on the cake. It’s a no-brainer.

  2. Scott Diffenderfer

    As president of the Belle Isle Residents Association, I do not claim to represent everyone in the neighborhood. People on Belle Isle who are tenants of the developer are of course supporting him and have shown up at every meeting to offer their support for the project.

    Not everyone has the same opinion but the MAJORITY of residents in the area are very upset at the congestion that the city has miserably failed to address in our neighborhood. This is a particularly awkward piece of land at a convergence of many poorly designed intersections. All plans need to be carefully reviewed with time for public input.

    This hotel is being rushed through the process to meet a sales contract deadline. It is based on a Floor Area Ratio which is much larger than should be permitted on the plot that will remain after the bridge is built. The parking reduction was voted on before going to the Transportation Committee. The traffic study is flawed and does not take into consideration many things that are in the pipeline. As of yesterday, the complete traffic impact study had not even been made public.

    The future of our city and it’s responsible development is much more important than one hotel. All the neighborhood associations are simply asking is that the proper process is followed.

    I for one ENCOURAGE AND SUPPPORT proper development and will work with all parties to make sure that whatever happens is in the best interest of our city.

  3. Pingback: Planning Board approves 17th Street hotel; Design Review Board comes next | Belle Isle Blog

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