Category Archives: West Avenue

Town Hall meeting on Zika tonight at 6 p.m.

zikaThere’s a town hall meeting for Miami Beach residents on the Zika threat tonight at 6 p.m. that will include the state surgeon general and Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales.

The meeting, scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Waverly Condominium, 1330 West Avenue, is hosted by state Rep. David Richardson. There will be a presentation on protecting yourself and preventing the spread of Zika, as well as a question and answer session.

As you know, Miami Beach between Eight and 28th Streets has been designated by the Centers for Disease Control as a Zika zone.

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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.”

Development update: Purdy Avenue project stalls, 17th Street mixed up plan moves forward

Proposed mixed use development on Purdy.

Proposed mixed use development on Purdy Avenue

The march of development in our neighborhood lurches forward and a little sideways.

— The Residences at Sunset Harbour, the Purdy Avenue retail-parking luxury condo project developer that Bradley Colmer wants to build across from Maurice Gibb Memorial Park, stalled again last week at the Miami Beach City Commission.

Commissioners delayed across on the project for another month in hopes Colmer and his opponents in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood can work out their differences.

Colmer’s DecoCapital Group is asking the city for a 40-foot height increase from the allowable 50 feet for the project, which would go up immediately north of the Lofts condominiums. at the corner of Purdy and Dade Boulevard.

Colmer also has gotten into a legal tussle with Beach Towing, which tried to block the development because it provides (go fiture) parking. In response, Colmer’s lawyers filed a legal memo accusing Beach Towing of operating contrary to city zoning rules for decades.

Rendering of 17th and Alton project

Rendering of 17th and Alton project

— Another mixed use project, this one proposed for two lots south of 17 Street between Alton Road and West Avenue (including the old Shell Staion and a  parking lot),  got approval from the Miami Beach Design Review Board on May 2.

The project, proposed by members of the Soffer family of Turnberry fame, includes retail space, 36 apartments and roughly 200 parking spaces.

It still needs the okay from Miami Beach’s Planning Board, in part because it seeks to build a ramp over Alton Court, the alley that runs between the two parcels as well as behind Epicure. It’s supposed to be back before the Planning Board on May 24.

 

Miami Beach approves West Avenue bridge; work could begin in 60-90 days

The Miami Beach City Commission On Wednesday approved a $9.9 million contract for construction of new bridge extending West Avenue across the Collins Canal and Dade Boulevard,  linking Sunset Harbour to the West Avenue corridor.The bridge will connect West Aenue over the Collins Canal.

Work could begin in two the three months. The project — and its attendant disruption between the Venetian Isles and the main part of Miami Beach — is projected to take about 10 months. The Miami Herald’s Joey Flechas has more.

The vote was unanimous. In addition to the bridge, the project includes raising part of Dade Boulevard — where the bridge will slope down to Sunset Harbour — as much as six feet above its current elevation.

Here’s your development scorecard for Sunset Harbour, Dade Boulevard and upper West Ave

Proposed mixed use project at 17 between Alton and West, with new Residence Inn and proposed hotel renovation site in the background.

Proposed mixed use project at 17 between Alton Road and West, with new Residence Inn and proposed hotel renovation site in the background.

Two months ago, your Belle Isle Blog recapped the proposed onslaught of intensified development facing the neighborhoods of the Venetian Islands, Sunset Harbout and upper West Avenue.

And now we’re back with a report card that shows much of it is moving forward. So make notes, be vigilant, and take whatever actions you deem appropriate.

BELLE ISLE

— The owners of the Belle Isle Key Apartments, 31 Venetian Way, are moving forward with plans to replace the apartments originally built in 1931 with shiny new apartments.

The existing complex is 120 units in three-story buildings on 3.5 acres, and inadequate parking. The new plans, we hear, call for 172 units in two buildings with a view corridor in between and enough parking to serve all the tenants.

We’re told the owners, the EuroAmerican Group, plan to present their latest designs to Belle Isle residents before going before the city for approval, so stay tuned.

–The Standard hotel and spa is planning to ask for the city’s okay for a renovation plan that would to bring more parking to the site, but no plans have been submitted to the city yet. In January 2013, The Standard pitched an ambitious reconstruction that included rebuilding a wing of rooms and construction of a 45-foot high robotic parking structure. The hotel never moved forward with that plan. The new plan is expected to be  less dramatic, but still significant if you live in the bungalows to the east on Farrey Lane: Knocking down the existing one floor east wing of rooms, and replace it with a two-story wing — with parking on the first floor. It would not add any units to the hotel, and would resolve their parking shortage.–

mayflower

THE HOTEL PROJECTS

— The proposal to renovate/restore the adjacent apartment and retail building at 1700 Alton Rd. has cleared an important hurdle and next must be considered by the Miami Beach City Commission.

The owners of the five-story retail/apartment building at 1700 Alton Rd. want to renovate the Mediterrenian Revival building as a hotel with first floor retail.

To move forward with those plans, the owners want the 94-year-old property designated as historic. Last week, the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board voted to recommend that designation to the Miami Beach City Commission.

Currently, that building houses first floor businesses including the Vespa store, an eye doctor, Masters Pizza, a beauty salon and other restaurants. The balance of the building since 1992 has been studio apartments.

The renovated project will house retail and 72 hotel rooms.  The restoration will include eliminating changes in the building made in the 1950s and restoring the original lobby to what is looked like back in the day.

It also means that the building can move forward with no more parking than currently on the site — 25 spaces.

Old Boston Market, site of proposed boutique hotel.

Old Boston Market, site of proposed boutique hotel.

— The proposal to turn old Boston.Market property — the last slice of what is becoming a big pie of hotels between 17th Street and the Collins Canal — is still in the works.

Developer Robert Finvarb is proposing a 96-room “boutique” hotel with a 100-plus seat restaurant. The structure would be five stories tall. It would include a bay walk to West Avenue, and construction could start as soon as the fourth quarter of this year if it gets city approval. Finvarb is the developer of the five-story Residence Inn by Marriott on 17th Street at West Avenue, which opened two weeks ago.

SUNSET HARBOUR

Proposed mixed use development on Purdy.

Proposed mixed use development on Purdy.

— The proposed retail-parking and luxury condo project on Purdy Avenue, the one seeking a variance from a 50-foot height limit to allow a structure 90 feet high, will go before the Miami Beach City Commission for a final vote on May 11.

The project is across from Maurice Gibb Park, between the Loft condominium and the kayak rental bungalow. Developer Bradley Colmer calls the project the Residences at Sunset Harbour, with 15,000 square feet of retail at street level, topped by two floors of parking and 15 large, luxury condos priced at roughly $3 million each. The condos would face the bay.

City Commissioners on March 9 deferred a decision on the project.

Rendering of Kobi Karp design for 1824 Alton Rd.

Rendering of Kobi Karp design for 1824 Alton Rd.

On March 1, the city Design Review Board approved a four-story restaurant retail and parking complex at the corner of Alton Road  and Dade Boulevard, site of an old Larry’s Chevron at 1824 Alton Rd.  The project’s largest tenant is expected to be a Michael’s craft store on the second floor. It’s also expected to house a 160-seat restaurant.

UPPER WEST AVENUE

Shuttered Shell station at Alton Road and 17th St.

Shuttered Shell station at Alton Road and 17th St.

— Also pending is the Soffer family’s proposal to build a restaurant/retail/apartment project on the site of the former Shell station at Alton Road and 17th Street and the private pay parking lot across the alley at 17th Street and West Avenue. The project would include restaurants, retail, parking and 32 high-end rental apartments in a five -story building. It would include a ramp for cars over the alley.

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.

 

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.