Category Archives: Development

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

Miami Beach delays action on 90-foot Sunset Harbour project

With Mayor Philip Levine sitting out the discussion because of conflict of interest questions, the Miami Beach City Commission delayed action on a mixed-use project proposed for Purdy Avenue that seeks to build 90 feet high where only 50 feet is permitted.

The project proposed by Deco Capital LLC is across from Maurice Gibb Memorial Park, and would include 15,000 square feet of retail and a parking garage topped by 15 three-bedroom condos priced at $1 million plus.

Deco, which calls its project Sunset Harbour Residences, has said the taller, mixed-use project would have less traffic impact on the neighborhood than what is allowed for the property under code, about 45,000 square feet of retail.

There is plenty of neighborood opposition, from residents to the towing companies on Bay Road, the back side of the project.

The Miami Herald’s Joey Flechas has a complete story on Wednesday’s discussion.

Commissioners delayed a decision to its May 11 meeting.

How rising seas threaten our homes on Belle Isle and surrounding islands and neighborhoods

With sea-level rise of two feet, we see significant flooding.

With sea-level rise of two feet, we see significant flooding.

More than most, residents of our neighborhoods know the realities. Our streets have flooded for years at high tide, and we’ve endured the cost and inconvenience of road raising and pumping installation projects that will attempt to keep our neighborhoods dry.

We own or rent properties at risk from rising seas. Many of us wonder when, even with higher sea walls and pumping stations, the sea may be lapping at our door.

The Florida International University’s School of Journalism & Communication did a nifty project on sea-level rise and its South Florida impact, called Eyes on the Rise. As part of it, they created a tool that allows you to project how different levels of rising seas could impact South Florida. Using the tool, you can look at specific addresses.

At three feet, the sea spreads.

At three feet, the sea spreads.

We’ve reviewed the impact on Belle Isle and the surrounding areas with a sea level rise of two, three or four feet, but you could do this yourself and put in your house or building address to see a full range from no-rise to six feet.

At four, all wet.

At four, all wet.

For context, scientists now project a rise of 6 to 10 inches in our area by 2030. Six feet of water level appears outside of our lifetime, but nevertheless, all the projections are sobering.

Once sea-level rise reaches two feet,  buildings are in jeopardy — Costa Brava, Island Terrace and the Venetian Isle Apartments on Belle Isle, for example.

condosAs the water rises, more buildings and neighborhoods are swamped along with the homes on the Venetian islands and high-rises in Sunset Harbour and down West Avenue. As you use the tool, you see all of Sunset Harbour under water except for Sunset Harbour 1800, 1900 and the Townhouses. So is virtually all of West Avenue, the Venetian Islands and all of Belle Isle except the Grand Venetian, the Vistas, 9 Island Avenue, 3 Island Avenue and the Standard.

The Real Deal website compiled a list of major condos at risk at different level or sea level rise.


Another Sunset Harbour project moves forward

The pending onslaught of new, more intense development in Sunset Harbour and between 17th Street and Dade Boulevard moved ahead Tuesday.

The city Design Review Board approved plans for a four-story restaurant, retails and parking development at 1824 Alton Rd, the former site of Larry’s Chevron.

According to the, Saber 1800 LLC plans to build a structure that will house a 160-seat restaurant, almost 27,000 square feet of retail space on the first and second floors, and two upper floors of parking. Michael’s craft store is expected to occupy the second floor of retail space.

The city Planning Board blessed the project in January.


17th Street Residence Inn opens next week

The new Residence Inn at 1231 17th Street.

The new Residence Inn at 1231 17th Street.

The Residence Inn by Marriott that Miami Beach commissioners allowed to be wedged on to a sliver of city land at the corner of West Avenue and 17th Street is supposed to open next week.

IMG_5619Neighborhood activists fought the 116-room extended stay hotel, built by developer Ronny Finvarb on city Housing Authority property that was sold to allow construction. They argued the lot was too small and the hotel would add traffic to an already congested intersection.

But they lost the argument, and the project was approved in spring 2013.

Proposed Residence Inn site north of 17th Street

The hotel triangle.

Three years later, it’s about to open, and the pie-shaped property north of 17th Street and south of the Collins Canal/Dade Boulevard from West Avenue to Alton Road is becoming a triangle of hotel activity.

The old Boston Market property, also owned by Finvarb, is being planned for a five-story, 96-room boutique hotel with a 100-plus seat restaurant.

Next to the Residence Inn on 17th (to the east), the old Mayflower building (think, Vespa store) is seeking historic designation before a full-scale renovation that would turn the apartment building into a 72-room hotel. The historic designation would allow the renovation without providing any additional parking; the property, which already has stores and restaurants at street-level, has less than a dozen parking spaces.

And west of the Residence Inn, the city and the Florida Department of Transportation plan to build a bridge that will extend West Avenue across the Collins Canal into Sunset Harbour.

That project is in the bidding/procurement phase, which should be completed very soon. If all goes as expected, the city could be voting to green-light construction next month. According to project plans, the actual work would take 270 days — nine months.

resinnMeanwhile, the Residence Inn will be the closest hotel to Belle Isle, Sunset Harbour and upper West Avenue. As a place to put up relatives who otherwise might overstay at your apartment, consider this: Rates next week start at $224 a night (for a studio apartment with a kitchen), according to Marriott’s website.  It’s pet-friendly, and breakfast is free.



Purdy Avenue retail, parking and luxury condo project gets early ok for 90-foot height

shopsThe Residences at Sunset Harbor, a mixed-use project proposed for Purdy Avenue across from Maurice Gibb Memorial Park, got a blessing last week from a key Miami Beach committee to rise 90 feet in an area where the height limit is 50 feet.

The trade-off developer Bradley Colmer pitched to the land-use committee: more height in exchange for less intense use. The code allows 45,000 square feet of retail in a 50-foot-high structure. This project would include 15,000 square feet of retail at street level, and two floors of parking topped by 15 large, luxury condos priced at roughly $3 million each.

The project, just north of the Loft condominium and south of the bungalow that features kayak rentals, will face the Gibb Park and Biscsayne Bay. Cars will enter from the eastern back end on Bay Road.

The Miami Beach City Commission still must review the proposal.

Belle Isle gets Convention Center hotel pitch today; the argument against it hits our mailboxes

Jack Portman, whose Atlanta-based development firm is seeking voter approval for a major hotel next to the Miami Beach Convention Center, will discuss his plans tonight with Belle Isle residents at Costa Brava, 11 Island Ave.

IMG_5582Meanwhile, former Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson sent a mailer that hit our mailbox Monday urging a no vote on the hotel on March 15. It says the 30-story hotel will generate too much traffic.

IMG_5580Tuesday’s presentation happens at 6 p.m. in the Costa Brava card room, on the mezzanine level.

To move forward, the project needs a 60 percent majority vote on March 15 — Florida Presidential Primary day — because it involves the use of city land.

While some have criticized the project because of its potential impact on traffic, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau supports it as a necessary complement to the renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center. The city broke ground in December on a $600 million renovation of the convention center.

Convention Center hotel developer to pitch his project to Belle Isle on Tuesday

The leader of the company that wants to build a major hotel next to Miami Beach’s under-renovation Convention Center will provide an overview of the plans to Belle Isle residents Tuesday night.

Jack Portman, vice chairman of Atlanta-based Portman Holdings, will meet with Belle Isle residents at 6 p.m. in the card room on the mezzanine level at Costa Brava, 11 Island Ave.

Portman is meeting with Sunset Harbour residents on Monday night.

Miami Beach voters will be deciding on March 15 — Florida Presidential Primary Day — whether to allow the lease of city land west of The Fillmore/Jackie Gleason Theater for the hotel site.

Portman Holdings wants to build a privately funded, $400 million, 800-room hotel on the site. It would be 30 stories high.

Support from 60 percent of Miami Beach voters is needed for the project to move forward.

Critics of the hotel have said it will bring additional traffic through the already crowded 17th Street and Dade Boulevard corridor.

But backers — which include the tourism community and the Collins Park Neighborhood Association — said it an important part of the future success of the Convention Center. Work started in December on a $600 million renovation of the convention center.