The largest zoning code overhaul in Miami history was given a preliminary green light.

Moishe Mana‘s massive special area plan, a mechanism used for projects of more than 9 acres that permits a developer to mold zoning within existing regulations, nabbed a unanimous OK from city commissioners Thursday evening.

The New York developer is pursuing a sprawling, multi-phase project in Miami‘s once crime-laden industrial neighborhood now known as the Wynwood arts district. The 20-plus acre development requires an overhaul of regulations in the city’s recently established Neighborhood Revitalization District, a zoning code specific to Wynwood intended to keep its arts-oriented environment intact and luxe high-rises out.

Rendering of the Mana Wynwood Special Area Plan proposed by Moishe Mana.

Rendering of the Mana Wynwood Special Area Plan proposed by Moishe Mana.

Labeled Mana Wynwood, the special area plan would be the largest-ever in Miami. It’s with this mechanism that the mega-developers behind Brickell City Centre and Miami’s Design District were able to build, said Iris Escarra, a Miami-based shareholder with Greenberg Traurig. The land use attorney is representing Mana‘s team along with Greenberg shareholder Carlos Lago in Miami.

“We’re taking it to the next level,” Escarra said of the current zoning.

Mana‘s team is planning a major commercial venue centered on arts and culture, with some added residential components.

The anchor attraction will be Mana Contemporary, a museum modeled after the developer’s 300,000-square-foot entertainment venue in New Jersey. A quarter of the land will be kept as open space. Mana Commons, a proposed 2.5-acre park, was likened to Millennium Park in Chicago during Thursday’s meeting.

“This is truly a transformational project,” said Bernard Zyscovich, founder of Zyscovich Architects, the firm designing the venue. “It’s unusual because unlike most of the clients that walk into my office, this is not a project driven by residential development.”

The architect touted the Mana‘s vision in creating jobs via mixed-use commercial space catered to the arts and cultural education.

“Once completed, Mana Wynwood would result in 22,000 direct and indirect full-time jobs,” Zyscovich said.

City commissioners asked the team to include benefits and job opportunities for Overtown residents before bringing the plan for its second reading in late July.

The Wynwood Business Improvement District has worked feverishly with Mana‘s team over the past year to ensure the mega-development is compatible with Wynwood‘s unique character and the most recent zoning.

David Polinsky, a member of the BID‘s board, said the group will back the development subject to three major conditions: The Mana team should support the expansion of the BID to include the western area of the plan; Mana properties bordering Northwest 22nd Avenue, or the “Calle Ocho” of Wynwood, should follow the neighborhood’s current zoning; and the area’s temporary uses should be restricted, including the special events Mana can host, until shovels hit the ground.


Source: DBR

museum park rendering

Miami is considering a move to redevelop a park along Biscayne Bay downtown, according to a news report.

The Miami City Commission will consider giving a conservancy control of Museum Park, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

The park is home to the Perez Art Museum and the Frost Science Museum, which is under construction. The 22.5-acre park is in a prime location for the city and for years there’s been debate about how to improve it for residents and visitors.

A city-commissioned plan in 2008 by Cooper, Robinson & Partners highlighted a future Museum Park with more shade trees, water features and a restaurant, but the city hasn’t acted on it – until now. The park is currently managed by the Bayfront Trust, a quasi-city agency.

The commission was scheduled to vote on Jan. 14 on turning over management, events and development of the park to a new non-profit called the Museum Park Conservancy. Yet, the item was deferred to a later date by the city. The framework of the potential deal was included on the city agenda.

The conservancy could charge for events and naming rights at the park and allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at the park during special events. The conservancy would actively solicit donations to support the park and its development, which is currently not allowed under the Bayfront Trust structure.

The conservancy promised to show the city proof within 90 days that it’s raised at least $7.5 million for the park. The group says it already has this money. However, the conservancy could not start managing the operations of Museum Park until after the first phase of the development breaks ground. That could occur in about 18 months, according to the proposed agreement.

The proposed deal between the city and conservatory refers to the Cooper, Robinson study as the “master plan.” The conservancy would have to submit its annual audited financial statements to the city. The city commission would have the right to abolish the conservancy at any time and retake control of the park with 180 days notice.

According to city documents, the conservancy would be governed by a board of 10 to 15 directors. They would be appointed by the mayor, the city commission, the city manager, a non-profit called Friends of Museum Park, and also appointed by the sitting conservancy board. The Miami Foundation is currently working to establish the conservancy.


Source: SunSentinel