Mixed-use Project In The Works for West Dixie Highway of North Miami Beach
This past Thursday, North Miami Beach planners got their first peek at the master plan for New North Town Center. The Center is set to be built on almost 18 acres on West Dixie Highway, situated to span between 155th Street and 163rd Street.
The property, which currently is mostly vacant, has been a ghost ‘town’ for the past four or five years, according to North Miami Beach’s planning and zoning director, Justin Proffitt.
There are big plans for the area though, with Bay Harbor-based architect Gabriel Boano and Aventura based Hector Mendez working to transform the abandoned property into its own smaller version of Downtown Dadeland. It will be pedestrian friendly and will feature mixed-use development to make the most of the available space.
The developers are planning to build 1,650 apartments, 175,000 square feet of space for commercial use (including small, in-line stores and anchors), 150,000 square feet of office space for use, 120,000 square feet of school space, and 175 limited service hotel rooms.
Zyscovich Architects is the chief designer of the project. In Downtown Dadeland, the Metrorail serves as a central transportation hub. In North Miami Beach, the new development is likely to be designed to correspond with the commuter train station at 163rd Street and Biscayne Boulevard – as long as the Florida East Coast Railroad approves the commuter line.
The bulk of the 18 acres dedicated to the project was bought up by New North Equities January 2017 for the price of $21 million. The land had mostly been vacant for years. The previous owner, People’s Gas, left the site contaminated – according to Proffitt and Florencia Montecchiarini (project director for the development). The land has been restored as much as it can be. Once developers start working on the ground, more work will be done to complete the restoration, Montecchiarini said.
Another roadblock before the project was zoning, and it needed to be addressed. Proffitt explained, “In 2015, we analyzed existing zoning and entitlements, and we reduced the amount of non-residential development allowed”.
In addition, North Miami Beach increased the allowable residential density. They also added additional requirements for dedicated park space, landscaping, sidewalks and street furniture. “We made zoning reflect market conditions,” Proffitt continued.
Upon approval, the first thing developers will begin is building new infrastructure, explained Proffitt. “They need to put in street trees, parking, and they will probably contribute to the redesign of the 21-acre Taylor Park,” he said.