Plans for a park and a high-rise at South Beach gateway move forward

August 4, 2018

After plenty of meetups combined with the public quarreling among adjoined communities over the entrance to South Beach, a resolution has evolved.

City officials are bargaining a deal to allow a developer to construct a condo tower featuring 44-story units between Alton Road and West Avenue just adjacent to the gateway of MacArthur Causeway. While in exchange for the deal, as per the agreement, the city will get its hand on a 3-acre public park.

With regards to the magnitude of the park and tower’s height, there has been a severe dissent among the people of South Beach due to the unpopulated skeleton of ancient South Shore Hospital which gets the first sight of the visitors who enter the island from Alton Road.

Although the company anticipates constructing a condo tower, there is a developmental limit which restricts the building size on the parcel of land. To built a high-rise, the city would have to empty the parts of Sixth Street which parts away from the plots, enabling the area to be considered a one piece. The city rarely lets the developers combine lots this way for public interests like a public park. In the current scenario, Sixth Street will keep its place intact.

Crescent Heights’ first proposal was a 50-story tower against a public park, and the neighborhood residents backed the plan with their utmost interest of seeing removed remains of South Shore Hospital and a park on its place. However, this draft caused discomfort among some South Beach people, who put forward their stance that the exclusive allowance to develop a high-rise on the place might pave the way of even taller towers in the future.

An unprecedented sequence of meetups headed towards the drafting of an agreement which might reach City Commission by September. Alliance and the developer held meetings with condo associations and nearby groups for collaborated move to seek support for their aspirations and city arranged meetings to exchange ideas on the project as well.

“We are going to build something that will set a new standard for the city of Miami Beach,” told developer Russell Galbut.
Local residents living in condos nearby offer their alliance, claimed Bernardo Sandoval who is a co-founder of the North of Fifth Neighborhood Association.

“The reality is that we cannot do nothing. We cannot just keep sitting on this and having meeting after meeting after meeting,” he said Tuesday at a land use and development committee meeting where the proposal was discussed. “We’re ready to go. We have something in place. Let’s move forward,” he said.

A broker, Allan Kleer, who is also the representative of the Bentley Bay which is a condo project along with the street stipulated project, told the media that the tower and park would thoroughly elevate the values of properties along West Avenue, which, according to him, are 30% lower than the prices of properties at Fifth Street.

“We want to see the neighborhood transformed and be gentrified just as the South of Fifth neighborhood was,” he spoke with the newspaper. “We believe that with Crescent Heights moving forward with their development that aura or mystique of luxury development will spread to West Avenue as well.”

Gateway Community Alliance members exclaimed that they are excited by the agreement of building a park, and they aim to ensure the city gets maximum in exchange for permitting a high-rise.

The developer is “using as ransom his failure for 13 years to demolish the abandoned eyesore hulk of his South Shore hospital building,” said Frank Del Vecchio, a longtime Miami Beach activist and a member of the alliance. “We’re relying on the mayor and commissioners to negotiate a fair deal for the city.”

Ex CEO of the South Shore Hospital, William Zubkoff, warned the city should keep up with the commitments made by Galbut, he also blamed Galbut that he bought the hospital in 2004 when it was running for its survival. “When he really planned to close the hospital, lay-off all of the 500 employees, and develop the real estate,” William Zubkoff claimed.

As far as the proposal of the site is concerned, it definitely has numerous hampers, like a need to seek authorization from seven commissioners of the city. Right when, the sorting out of the credentials with the developer will be finished by city officials, the agreement might go in front of the commission in September. The city has the plans to ask the developer for construction of the park before the issuance of occupancy certificate for condo tower by the city.


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