Daily Archives: November 23, 2006

MiMo District Motels

I have always noticed the long string of old motels on Biscayne Boulevard between 36th street and Miami Shores. I just never imagined that they would have architectural value. According to Miami 21 officials they do. And, their value is worthy of preservation. Now, there are aspects of the Miami 21 plan that I’m not altogether happy with, for example, height restrictions that may not be compatible with Miami’s urban evolution, but overall the plan is good and necessary. So, I decided to inspect the area through a more critical lens—my camera. Please pardon the glare in some of the images.

It was surprising to see how many lots are for sale up and down the Boulevard among these motels. The motels are as funky and colorful as they have always been. It is hard to see what the future has in store for this area of Biscayne Boulevard. The area between 50th and 90th streets is in between a few established and valuable neighborhoods to the north and south (Bay Point, Morningside, and the Design District to the south; Miami Shores to the north). The Biscayne Boulevard MiMo District bisects Little Haiti.

The question is: how will the MiMo District benefit new development? Will it further spur or deter it? The Art Deco District on Miami Beach certainly helped spur new development along the peripheries of the district near Alton Road, on West Avenue, on Collins Avenue, and in the SoFi neighborhood, so the there is a precedent of success. The difference is that Miami Beach has had a long history of tourism. This area has not. The Art Deco District is bordered by one of the best beaches in the country. The MiMo District is not. There is a much larger collection of historic buildings in the Art Deco District than in the MiMo District. So is the precedent valid? Yes. Is it strong? Probably not.

It is not clear how development in the MiMo District will materialize except to say that the phenomenal construction activity to the south will definitely have a positive ripple effect to the north. Also, it isn’t clear what uses these buildings will afford their owners under the new guidelines. The buildings are protected, but surely the city doesn’t want them to remain cheap motels. In the Art Deco District, some buildings primarily on Collins Avenue from 5th street to 9th have catered to national retail tenants. Others have become restaurants and lounges, pizzerias, gelaterias, and less established retail stores. The remaining have, for the most part, remained hotels. Will MiMo motels follow suit and afford their owners and the neighborhood such an array of uses? The likelihood of that happening any time soon is low.

On another note, the Miami21 plan restricts height throughout much of the MiMo District and that doesn’t seem like a logical way of attracting new developers. The Bank building does offer an interesting vision of what could be an encouraging glimpse into the future of this urban district, but it is only one new building. Hopefully, it will set the precedent for future development along this corridor, which until recently was a blight spot on the city’s neighborhood mosaic, but may eventually become one the city’s most remarkable.


Filed under MiMo District

Insight Into Oppenheim’s Groundbreaking Cor Project

OPPENheim Designing “Green” Mixed-Use Project with Energy-Efficient Exoskeleton

By Kelly Sheehan, Online News Editor

NOVEMBER 15, 2006

Miami — OPPENheim architecture + design and Nexus Development Group, both based locally, are planning COR, a $40-million, “green,” mixed-use development here, Chad Oppenheim, founder and principal of OPPENheim architecture + design, told MHN.

The 25-story tower will consist of 113 condominium units, 20,100 square feet of office space and 5,400 square feet of retail space, which will include a café and furniture store, Jessica Santanillo Barrera, project architect with OPPENheim for COR, told MHN. The project recently won unanimous approval from the city of Miami’s Urban Design Review Board. It is scheduled to break ground in eight months and should be completed in 2009.

“We’re trying to establish a new paradigm for energy-efficient and sustainable buildings,” Oppenheim said. “The building will produce its own energy using alternative technologies, and will employ a wide variety of cost-effective design strategies.”

COR will extract power from its environment by using wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and solar hot water generation. Oppenheim said that the building’s most defining feature—a 10-in., hyper-efficient exoskeleton—will provide structure as well as thermal mass for insulation, shading, enclosure for terraces, armatures for turbines, and a ground-floor loggias.

The industrial-inspired condominiums will be a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-story penthouse units. Oppenheim said buyers will have the option to combine residences. They will be priced from $400,000 to about $1 million. Units will feature Energy Star appliances, recycled glass tile flooring in bathrooms, terraces, Energy Star appliances and design-ready concrete floors. Hallways will be lined with bamboo—a resource that rapidly renews itself. Residents will have access to a fitness facility and a deck with pool.source: http://www.multi-housingnews.com

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Filed under Design District, News