North Beach’s new main street might include tiny apartments, 200-foot towers and homes that double as businesses.

This vision for the “Town Center” area along 71st Street, developed by city planners, is designed to turn a stretch of the island that has seen little development into a hub where residents can live, work, shop and eat without ever getting into a car.

“We think that there’s an opportunity to make Town Center more walkable and more liveable and we want to see Town Center thrive,” said Thomas Mooney, Miami Beach’s planning director. “We wanted to have more of a 24-hour feel.”

Mooney and his team have proposed allowing developers to build up to 200 feet if they provide a public benefit, such as affordable housing or a contribution to a fund that could be used for a variety of neighborhood projects. He said limiting the height to 12 stories (125 feet), which was recommended in the master plan for North Beach, would generate “static” buildings and wouldn’t leave much room for creativity.

“We wanted to build in the ability for a good architect to be able to creatively redistribute” the allowed density in a taller structure, Mooney said.

In addition to allowing micro-units — tiny, furnished apartments in buildings with shared amenities — city planners have recommended permitting artisanal retail where goods like artwork, food and beer are produced and sold on-site and neighborhood fulfillment centers where shoppers can pick up goods they order online. Units where residents can live and work in the same space would also be allowed.

But not everyone agrees with this vision for Town Center.

The redevelopment of the area between Collins Avenue and Indian Creek Drive/Dickens Avenue from 69th Street to 72nd Street was approved by voters last November when they authorized an increase in density. Voters approved an increase in the overall size of buildings in the area, but the referendum didn’t get into specifics. That was left up to the city’s planning department.

Some residents object to allowing 200-foot towers and are skeptical about the micro-units, which they say will only attract tourists. (Short-term rentals are legal in the Town Center area.)

North Beach activist Kirk Paskal said 200-foot towers weren’t what voters envisioned when they cast their ballots because the height increase hadn’t been included in the master plan or agreed to by residents.

“Now suddenly, this new urgency for more height could severely damage the character of North Beach in a drastic and permanent way,” Paskal said in an email. “Any public benefits that may be proposed by way of this last minute effort to stray from the plan, could not justly recompense the harm that would be inflicted on the alluring human scale and cohesive character of North Beach by the incompatible and oppressive height of 200 feet.”

Paula King, a longtime North Beach resident, also has concerns about the maximum height.

“What they’re looking for is to build these high needles that are higher than any other building in North Beach so they can have the view and charge more for it,” King said. “Miami Beach is not New York. We don’t have the infrastructure to support this.”

Tiny Living

Micro-units are a trend in urban areas among residents who are willing to trade space for the opportunity to live in a neighborhood they couldn’t otherwise afford. Projects have sprouted up in Wynwood and downtown Miami, as well as in Miami Beach. A new micro-unit project at 6080 Collins Ave. offers apartments as small as 350 square feet, about the size of two parking spaces. Other micro-unit projects are in the works on South Beach’s Washington Avenue.

Mooney and his team have proposed allowing micro-units in hotels and apartment buildings in Town Center as long as the building includes plenty of shared amenities like community kitchens, business centers and gyms.

Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez is skeptical the micro-units will appeal to North Beach residents, however.

“What you have right there is a massive amount of transient tourism,” Rosen Gonzalez said. “It really is not reflective of what the community wanted,” she added, referring to the micro-units and the proposed height limits. “We can’t turn North Beach into South Beach.”

Others disagree. In order to attract young people and plan for the future, the regulations forTown Center need to leave room for new housing trends, said Commissioner Ricky Arriola.

“I think we need to be open minded and flexible,” Arriola said. “We can’t be rigid and just stick to the way we’ve always done things. The facts are that we are losing our millennial generation across the bay.”

North Beach residents have mixed views on the proposals.

Miguel Gonzalez, 36, said he wasn’t sure there is a market for micro-units right now due to a lack of job opportunities and public transportation. But Gonzalez, a lawyer who lives within walking distance of Town Center, said that could change.

“If you could work and live in the same place, like in downtown Miami, if they can convert this into that kind of area, more young people might be interested,” Gonzalez said.

Judith Acame, 77, lives in the Town Center area and said she thought the micro-units would appeal to young people, but not to low-income retirees like her.

“People my age will have to move to cheaper areas,” Acame said in Spanish.

Acame said she loves living in the neighborhood because she can walk to her yoga and Tai chi classes and to a nearby senior center. If the area gets more expensive and fills with buildings catering to young people.

“I guess I’d have to go to Hialeah, where my brother lives,” Acame said.

Ultimately, the city will have to be flexible in order to attract economic development to North Beach, said Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán.

“North Beach’s Town Center District has seen little new development since the concept originated in 2003,”Alemán said in an email. “This time around, it is imperative that the Commission err on the side of growth and progress. The North Beach community craves results.”

The planning department’s proposal, included in the draft of an ordinance that will regulate area development, will be evaluated by the city’s planning board on July 24 and by the Land Use and Development committee on July 31. The City Commission will have final say.

The draft ordinance includes a number of other proposals, including provisions to ensure ample space between towers so that air and light filter down, limits on the numbers of hotel rooms and apartments, and noise reduction requirements for businesses that provide entertainment.

Source: Miami Herald

Developer EDEN Multifamily topped off construction of NOMA, an eight-story, 347-unit apartment building at 2145 Northeast 164th Street in the heart of North Miami Beach.

Scheduled to be completed in fall 2018, NOMA is EDEN’s first development in North Miami Beach and represents a significant milestone for the city, which is experiencing a renaissance following the 2015 completion of the City’s Mixed Use Town Center zoning district. The multifamily project is located in the emerging Community Redevelopment Area on the east side of the city.

EDEN and Coastal Construction, the project’s general contractor, are set to host a topping off celebration at the project site on February 2 at noon. City of North Miami Beach commissioners, city officials and other invited guests will be on hand to tour the project and enjoy the festivities.

“We are finding a strong demand from renters for boutique apartment buildings in urban areas—or the downtown areas of suburban markets—as an alternative to the high-rise towers that dominate these areas,” EDEN Multifamily president Jay Jacobson tells “These renters are seeing that you can find value and convenience at new boutique buildings without sacrificing the level of amenities. The challenge for multifamily developers is to identify areas where this type of product can be delivered on a cost-effective basis.”

NOMA includes studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, an eight-story parking garage and ground-floor retail space. Building amenities include an inner courtyard with a heated pool, an elevated sundeck seating area with a firepit, community rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center with a yoga/spin room and a dog walk and grooming area.

EDEN will enhance the public greenspace along the Snake Creek Canal with extensive landscaping, public seating, a walking path/bikeway and a significant public art installation. The multifamily property offers common area Wi-Fi and large community gathering spaces.

Coastal Construction is the general contractor. MSA Architects is the NOMA architect, with Bruce Howard and Associates providing landscape architecture and ID& Design Internationalas the interior designer.


Source: GlobeSt.

The Little Haiti area will be South Florida’s hottest residential neighborhood in 2017, even as the wider region cools down, according to a recent report released by real estate website Zillow.

The company predicts home values in the gentrifying area north of downtown Miami will rise 4.6 percent this year. (Zillow included Little River, Buena Vista and the area around the Design District — together once known as Lemon City — in its analysis.) That’s the fastest rate in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. But South Florida as a whole will grow at a 1.6 percent clip, Zillow said. Miami’s growth rate puts it at number 90 of the country’s 96 largest metro areas, according to Zillow projections.

Little Haiti, ‘The Next Wynwood’

With Brickell and the Beach overbuilt, developers are now zeroing in on under-valued neighborhoods close to the urban core.

“This could be the next Wynwood” is the mantra of many investors and home flippers crowding into Little Haiti. The average home there is valued at $191,500, up 19.6 percent over the last year, according to Zillow.

Just south of the booming neighborhood, the Archdiocese of Miami wants to sell the 15-acre campus of Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School in Buena Vista. Developers have also unveiled plans for large, mixed-use projects. And restaurants and commercial business are moving in, too, most recently Entercom Communications, one of the country’s biggest radio broadcasters, which signed a lease in Little River.

Some business owners and residents are worried they could be forced out by the wave of cash, and that Little Haiti’s unique cultural heritage is under siege. In March, with the support of many Haitian Americans, the city of Miami officially recognized the area roughly between 54th Street and 79th Street, and Northwest Sixth Avenue and Northeast Second Avenue, as Little Haiti.

Zillow predicts the other top neighborhoods in South Florida in 2017 will be the 441 corridor in Hollywood (the residential area south of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino); South Middle River in Fort Lauderdale; Highland Garden in Hollywood; and Liberty City in Miami.

South Florida Slowdown

The overall slowdown in South Florida might come as a surprise after years of big gains. Fueled by foreign investment, real estate in Miami Beach, Brickell and other high-rise havens recovered quickly after the housing bubble burst, leaving less fashionable. But now that a strong dollar has cooled the condo market, overall growth is plummeting compared to other major metro areas.

“We’re expecting a drastic slowdown,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Miami was the one market where I was starting to get concerned about a bubble because of the foreign investment flowing in and prices becoming so unaffordable. … A slowdown is actually a good thing because it could allow incomes to catch up.”

The volume of home sales in Miami-Dade fell by double digits in three of the four months leading up to November’s presidential election. Zillow also found that Miami has a higher unemployment rate and slower projected wage growth than other big cities. Recession in Latin America prevented Miami’s economy from booming at the rapid clip experienced in other parts of Florida and the Southeast in 2016.

The metro areas projected to experience the biggest increases in home values this year are Nashville, Tennessee; Seattle; Provo, Utah; Orlando; and Salt Lake City.


Source: Miami Herald

A 68-year-old, two-story apartment complex in Miami’s Little Haiti could be transformed with a zoning proposal allowing towers as tall as 28 stories and up to 5.42 million square feet of development.

To view a SFBJ slideshow of the Eastside Ridge in Miami’s Little Haiti, click on the photo

SPV Realty, managed by Sharon Olson in New York, hired Kobi Karp Architecture to craft a redevelopment plan for its 22.5-acre site at 5045 N.E. 2nd Ave. It currently has the walled-in Design Place Apartments totaling 515 units. The company wants to rezone it using a special area plan (SAP) titled Eastside Ridge that would increase its density and height in addition to allowing commercial uses.

On Dec. 21, the city’s Urban Design Review Committee will consider the SPV Realty’s SAP and site plan, with a maximum development potential of 2,798 apartments, 418 hotel rooms, 283,798 square feet of commercial/retail space, 97,103 square feet of office space and 4,636 parking spaces. Building heights would range from eight to 28 stories — higher than other buildings in Little Haiti.

North of downtown Miami and west of Biscayne Boulevard, the Little Haiti neighborhood has been overlooked by developers for years. Its median household income of $27,457 in 2013 was below county-wide income levels, according to U.S. Census data.

However, increasing prices in booming neighborhoods to the south such as Wynwood and the Design District have prompted some businesses and residents to move to Little Haiti. Tony Cho and Dragon Global recently announced plans to redevelop 15 acres at the corner of Northeast 62nd street and Northeast 4th Avenue as Magic City with a mix of entertainment, residential and commercial uses. They have yet to announce development density on that site.

Kobi Karp said SPV Realty hired him a few years ago to develop a plan to make its apartment complex better for its residents and the community. He said the owner would work to keep residents on the property as it’s redeveloped. These apartments would be for everyday working people, Karp said.

“The owner has been here for decades and doesn’t have enough apartments,” Karp said. “They said, ‘I am full and these buildings are falling apart so why don’t I built more?’”

Karp said Eastside Ridge would better integrate the property with the community, including the Jewish Health facility on its west side, where another redevelopment plan is proposed, and Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School to the south. New internal streets and green spaces would invite the public onto the property.

There would be pocket parks on every corner, a park along Northeast 2nd Avenue and a central ovular park. He also envisioned an outdoor green market operating there on the weekends. Karp said the project was designed around the existing trees on the property.

“We wanted to maintain openness and green tree canopies of the site,” Karp said. “Towards Northeast 2nd Street, we present a plaza and green space so if people feel like they want to walk through our site, they can.”

In case passenger rail is ever extended on the FEC line running along the east side of the property, the site plan calls for a station there. The SAP would allow for a parking reduction of 30 to 50 percent should a train station be placed on the property.

The East Ridge SAP site plan shows 16 buildings, ranging from eight stories closer the the streets, to four buildings of 28 stories each around the park in the center of the property. Each building would have ground-floor retail and two would contain hotels. The office space would be combined with retail and apartments in the same buildings. Each building would contain some parking, with some garages under ground. The buildings would have green roofs with native vegetation and the parking structures would be topped by amenity decks.

Similar projects have been developed and proposed in parts of Miami-Dade County, such as in downtown Miami, Brickell and Aventura, but there’s nothing of this scale and design currently in Little Haiti. Karp pointed out that when he opened his office near Midtown Miami in 2004, that area had only mid-rise buildings and now it’s booming with large-scale development.

“The density that has existed there (the Design Place Apartments) for the past 80 years for it to keep with the new zoning code with the new parking and to introduce the retail and the offices there, the height is necessary, especially if you want to preserve and increase the green spaces,” Karp said.

The site plan calls for 6.8 acres of open space, more than triple what’s currently permitted under the present zoning. Karp said he created that open space by increasing the heights of the buildings so they have a smaller footprint at the ground level.

“The buildings could be shorter but then there would be less green space and open space,” Karp said.

If the Eastside Ridge SAP is approved by the UDRB, it would still need to pass the city’s Planning Board and commission. Kimley Horn is the planning firm on the project and Edward Martos is the developer’s attorney.


Source: SFBJ

Roosters crow in trash-strewn lots. Construction crews tear down crumbling foreclosed homes. The din of backhoes, of leaf-blowers, of planes flying overhead never seems to stop.

But in the roughly five-square-mile Allapattah neighborhood of Miami, one of the city’s oldest, home values are rising at a faster clip than the multimillion dollar mansions of Miami Beach.

A house on Northwest 25th Ave in the Allapattah neighborhood of central Miami. Developers and investors are buying properties there because it's close to downtown and on the edge of Wynwood. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

A house on Northwest 25th Ave in the Allapattah neighborhood of central Miami. Developers and investors are buying properties there because it’s close to downtown and on the edge of Wynwood. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

In the last year, home values in this working-class community are up nearly 24 percent, according to data collected by online real estate company Zillow. The Miami-Dade County average is 8.6 percent.

The reason for the surprising surge?

A house on Northwest 25th Ave in the Allapattah neighborhood of central Miami. Developers and investors are buying properties there because it's close to downtown and on the edge of Wynwood. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

A house on Northwest 25th Ave in the Allapattah neighborhood of central Miami. Developers and investors are buying properties there because it’s close to downtown and on the edge of Wynwood. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Rock-bottom prices and Allapattah’s proximity to hot-spots like the Design District, Wynwood, the Miami River and the Health District around Jackson Memorial Hospital have investors salivating over the area’s low-end housing stock — and buying up everything they can.

The median value for a single-family home in the area stood at $123,000 in June 2015, the lowest in Miami after Liberty City, Zillow found. For condos and townhomes, values were $103,000.

“There’s so much speculation among investors because the prices are so low,” said Alex Ruiz, a real estate agent at the Keyes Company who grew up in the area in the 1960s and ’70s.

“It was a very booming area when my family was there,” Ruiz said. “There were movie theaters and stores and restaurants all along 36th Street and a Coca Cola Bottling company plant.”

Allapattah, sometimes called Little Santo Domingo because of its large Dominican community, has transformed since its heyday decades ago. Today, most people who live here are low-income renters. Many rely on Section 8 vouchers.

Allapattah9A growing number of homes, all on small lots close together, are being converted for multi-family use. There are few stores beyond pawn shops, car mechanics, corner stores and bare-bones restaurants. Businesses are mainly industrial, with boat yards and drydocks lining the Miami River. Crime is a problem. A shooting left a man dead over a recent weekend.

But Allapattah may again be on the cusp of change.

Investors are snapping up properties with cash, renting them out and waiting for a boom they expect to spread west from the shops and galleries of Midtown and north from the high-rises of the Miami River. It’s hard to find better deals in Miami.

“We can buy a house for $60,000, tear it down for $10,000 and build a duplex for $200,000,” said Jorge Artiles, a realtor and home flipper who works in the neighborhood with bank-owned properties. “Then we can rent it out to two families for $1,700 per month. We are putting the money to work and then we can sell for a profit because the market keeps going up.”

Local realtor and house flipper Jorge Artiles stands outside a property he and business partners recently purchased in Allapattah. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Local realtor and house flipper Jorge Artiles stands outside a property he and business partners recently purchased in Allapattah. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Artiles said investors are banking on the expectation that in the next 10 to 15 years, Allapattah will be transformed. The area is close to expressways, the airport, downtown and Miami Beach. Along the north bank of the Miami River, young professionals are renting out apartments and condos because of easy access to jobs downtown, Artiles said.

“We’re trying to brand this area as the Miami River District,” Artiles said. “That’s what it is on the south side of the river. But if I say Allapattah, I cannot charge $2,400 for a unit.”

One sign of the area’s potential for developers: A major mixed-use project called River Landing is planned for the river’s north bank near the Health District, although it may be slowed by creditors.

Realtors are seeing interest along Allapattah’s eastern edge, too.

“It’s right next to the Design District and it’s very affordable,” said Paola Chapman, a real estate agent who just took her first Allapattah listing because of rising values.

For homeowners in the area, change cuts both ways. Locals welcome rising real estate values, said Albena Sumner, president of the Allapatah Homeowners’ Association and a resident since 1965. But transient renters bring a different feel to the community.

“Where you used to have a family owning a home, now you’re renting out a duplex,” Sumner said. “It’s gentrification. It’s what happens in poor communities. It happened in Wynwood. Now it’s happening here.”

Background (Source – Zillow):

  • A working-class, industrial neighborhood where home values are rising faster than any other part of Miami or Miami Beach, driven by investors and flippers. The name Allapattah comes from the Seminole word for “alligator.” Its boundaries are State Road 112 and the Miami River to the north and south, and Interstate 95 and Northwest 27th Avenue on the east and west. Allapattah covers several ZIP codes, including 33136, 33125, 33127 and 33142. Crime statistics and Florida Department of Education school ratings vary by location but are generally poor.
  • Median single-family home values: $123,000 in June, up 29 percent since June 2014.
  • Median condo/townhome values: $103,000 in June, up 23 percent since June 2014.


Source: Miami Herald