It’s no secret that the South Beach boom of the last 30 years — from new luxury high=rises to retro apartment renovations — has pushed housing costs beyond the reach of many people who work in the shops and restaurants in our neighborhoods.
The issue became even more apparent earlier this year when Boardwalk Properties Inc bought a portfolio of 15 older Art Deco buildings and announced plans to renovate them an market them are much higher rent.
It’s a concern at City Hall, and the city earlier this month began seeking proposals from consultants to help the city develop “workforce / affordable housing.”
As part of that effort, consultants are being invited to investigate seven city-owned parking lots that could possibly be developed with city parking garages and apartments on top.
Two are on West Avenue, just south of 17th Street: the public lot just north of the U.S. Post Office behind Epicure and Ave Hardware, and the circular lot at 1625 West Ave. behind Taco Rico.
Other lots mentioned in the initiative are at Collins Avenue and 13th Street, Washington Avenue and Ninth Street and 10th Street, 2660 Collins Ave., and 830 W. 42nd St.
Consultant proposals wouldn’t come back to the city until mid-summer, and no decisions have been made on whether to actually do this or where to do it, so action is a ways off.
There is commission interest in this matter, though. After the Boardwalk properties purchase, Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco wrote a letter to the editor in the Miami Herald in which he said:
“Our tourism and retail employees need affordable housing, and the city needs them to stay. The irony of the recent apartment purchases, and subsequent articles about the gentrification in South Beach, lands squarely at City Hall, where Commissioner Joy Malakoff and I have been pushing for an increase in workforce-housing inventory. Now, instead of increasing available housing for those who work in the city, we’re playing catch up.”