Category Archives: Development

Projects proposed on Belle Isle and nearby, including buildings and roads.

To add parking and renovate, The Standard wants a zoning change

The Standard on Belle Isle is valet only -- today.

The Standard on Belle Isle is valet only — today.

The Standard Spa and hotel is moving forward with its effort to add on-site parking and renovate one of the wings of its property, but this time with a twist — it’s asking the city of Miami Beach to create a hotel overlay district for its property.

monterey brochureThat’s because the Miami Beach zoning code for Belle Isle doesn’t allow a hotel use; the Standard is grandfathered in because it was built (originally as the Monterrey Motel and later the DiLido Spa) before the current code was enacted.

The Standard will meet with Belle Isle residents on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at the hotel, 40 Island Ave.

It plans to go before the Miami Beach Planning Board on Sept. 27.

The Standard’s latest proposal is believed to involve knocking down the existing single-story east wing of rooms. It would be replaced with a two-story wing — with parking on the first floor. In preliminary discussions, no additional rooms were to be added to the property.

As proposed, the overlay district would only apply to the Standard property, not other sites on Belle Isle.

 

 

 

Yes, the road construction has begun

The barricades are up again.

The barricades are up again.

You’ve no doubt noticed that work began last week on the raising of the Venetian Way/Dade Boulevard/17th Street seawalls near Maurice Gibb Park and Sunset Harbour.

And now comes word from the city that Miami-Dade County, as it prepares to rebuild the drawbridge between Belle Isle and Rivo Alto, will be opening the bridge tonight from midnight to 3 a.m. Wednesday, and Wednesday night from midnight to 3 a.m. Thursday.

This is a prelude to project that is expected to start in September and run through December 2016.

The work near Sunset Harbour involves raising seawalls along the Collins Canal, and is a early step in a process that will ultimately include raising the road and the construction of a new bridge along West Avenue over the canal.

In the face of growing opposition, Sunset Harbour developer pulls project

Proposed mixed use development on Purdy.

Proposed mixed use development on Purdy.

Save Miami Beach targets Sunset Harbour project

Save Miami Beach targets Sunset Harbour project

Neighbors objected to the height variance — 90 feet instead of 50.

Beach Towing tried to derail the parking garage — or extract more than a $1 million.

This week, Deco Capital and developer Bradley Colmer withdrew their application for the Residences at Sunset Harbour, a retail, parking and luxury condo project proposed to be built across from Maurice Gibb Park on Purdy Avenue.

In a letter to the city, Colmer said he’ll return with a project within the existing height regularions.

Belle Isle residents to meet Tuesday to plan opposition to Belle Isle Key demolition

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Rendering shows view from south side of Belle Isle.

A group of Belle Isle residents have scheduled a meeting Tuesday night at Costa Brava to rally opposition to the demolition of Belle Isle Key apartments.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.on the mezzanine level of the condo , 11 Island Ave.

The EuroAmerican Group, which owns the apartments at 31 Venetian Way, has submitted plans to replace the current complex of 120 units in five three-story buildings with 172 apartments in two five-story buildings. The project would also provide substantially more parking — 297 spaces in an interior garage, instead of the 109 spaces that are part of the current complex.

Belle Isle Key Apartments, 31 Island Ave.

Belle Isle Key Apartments, 31 Island Ave.

The Miami Beach Design Review Board will consider EuroAmerican’s plan on June 7.

Lawyer Richard Freeman, who lives in Costa Brava and is helping to organize opponents, said he’s trying to marshall a big group to show up on June 7 to voice opposition when the DRB meets.

“The best arguments are not as effective as having people show up,” he sad. “Sometimes numbers seak louder than words.”

At a meeting last week, Belle Isle Residents Association president Scott Diffenderfer said the island association would not be taking a formal position against the complex because the height and number of units are allowed under the zoning code.

“You can’t just fight it because you don’t like it,” he said. “It has to have a legal basis.”

A meeting announcement circulated by Freeman says some residents are concerned the project will bring more traffic, construction and block bay views from other buildings.

 

Imagine this: a public parking garage behind Epicure topped with apartments

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 potential parking garage/workplace housing sites are on West Avenue.

Two potential parking garage/workplace housing sites are on West Avenue.

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.”

Temporary playground in Belle Isle Park? Residents at meeting emphatically say no

The playground at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park

The playground at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park

The notion that the park on Belle Isle could host a playground while Maurice Gibb Memorial Park undergoes renovation received a mostly negative response from Belle Isle residents who attended a community meeting Thursday night.

The Miami Beach Parks Department posed the question to the Belle Isle Residents Association, which invited residents to give the city feedback during an association board meeting at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave.

“I wanted them to hear directly from residents” about the proposal, BIRA president Scott Diffenderfer told the roughly 30 residents who showed up. “This is literally to hear your input.”

What the two Miami Beach parks representatives heard was mostly against the idea. Some said the playground would be too noisy. Others said itt would attract too much traffic in an area that lacks parking. The dogs and the children would be a bad combination, one resident said.

Some of the concerns ventured into the bizarre. One resident said the playground would attract children, and the children would “attract sexual offenders.” (We are not making this up).

The one attendee who spoke out in favor of temporarily moving the equipment  pointed out that when Maurice Gibb Park closes for renovations, “people are going to come to the park with their kids anyway,” because it will be the closest available open space for parents in the Belle Isle/Sunset Harbour area.

Cindy Casanova, assistant director of Miami Beach’s Parks and Recreation Department, told residents: “We know there is no appetite for this from anyone here, which is something we needed to hear.”

(UPDATE: There is an effort on Facebook to encourage parents who couldn’t attend the meeting to let the city know they do support the playground move.Parents are urged to email Casanova at cynthia.casanova@miamibeachfl.gov).

She said the city has no plan to move the equipment to Belle Isle if residents don’t want it.

Diffenderfer said he had approached developer Bradley Colmer, whose company is seeking to build a mixed-use project across from Maurice Gibb park, so see if he would consider temporarily making his property available for the equipment until his development gets city approval and construction can begin. Right now, the proposal is stalled before the city commission.

Diffenderfer said Colmer is”open” to the idea. Casanova said the city would reach out to him.

 

 

Miami Beach is getting ready to renovate Maurice Gibb park; will the playground camp out on Belle Isle?

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The view of Belle Isle from Maurice Gibb Park.

One of the next steps in the rebuilding of Sunset Harbour is the renovation and raising of Maurice Gibb Park.

The park, which features a popular playground used by kids in Sunset Harbour, Belle Isle and other Venetian Isles, has been rough around the edges for a while now.

The southeast corner has been fenced off from the public for more than two years, the result of the installation of a drainage pump and the discovery of environmental issues underground. Old timers may remember that there used to be a gas station on the corner of the park at Purdy Avenue and 17th Street. The tanks leaked.

And with the raising of Purdy Avenue on the east side of the park, it’s become a couple foot step-down from street level.

So the city is planning an environmental clean-up, land-raising and renovation for the park named for the late BeeGee and Miami Beach resident. The park includes a large playground, a wooden baywalk, bathrooms and boat launches (named for former legislator Barry Kutun).

Last week, the Miami Beach City Commission approved a request for proposals to hire architectural and engineering firms to develop an “environmental mitigation and protection plan, and conduct the design, permitting, bid and award” work necessary so companies can bid to hired and work can be done.

Once the construction contracts are awarded — that’s a ways off — the park will be closed, most likely in phases.

Parents are wondering what to do while the playground is closed. One possibility is to temporarily move the equipment to Belle Isle Park. That will be discussed Thursday night at a Belle Isle Residents Association meeting.

From an email sent to Belle Isle residents on Monday:

Since Maurice Gibb Park is scheduled to be closed for construction, the City is exploring options to relocate the playground temporarily, possibly on Belle Isle.  Since many of our residents use Maurice Gibb Park, a representative from the Parks Department will attend the meeting to discuss what will be happening at Gibb Park and how it will affect residents. Please note that no plans to relocate the playground have been made – this is simply a discussion to get input from our residents.

The residents association meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the card room at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave.

Other discussion items include:

  • Updates on street construction including the upcoming West Avenue Bridge project, progress on raising Sunset Harbour streets and sidewalks, the upcoming repair of the bridge on Venetian Way between Belle Isle and Rivo Alto;
  • Updates on the progress of new projects proposed for 31 Venetian Way, the Standard Hotel East Wing, and DecoCapital project on Purdy next to Sunset Harbour Lofts.