The Proposed 710ft 56 floor Columbus Center Needs FAA Variance

  Real Estate Review: Planning Report
Lofty Brickell project planned, but economic realities may intervene

December 2006 By: Polyana da Costa

nother major mixed-used development is planned in Miami’s Brickell Avenue area, which already is a sprawling high-rise construction zone.

Project owner Nickel Goeseke of Cervera Real Estate is asking the city Planning Advisory Board to approve a 56-story tower with residential, retail and hotel components on nearly two acres at 1490-1492 S. Miami Ave.

A hearing on the proposed Columbus Centre is likely in January, but the item is not on a scheduled agenda, said Luciana Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the planning department.

Gilberto Pastoriza of Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske, the law firm handling the development, said he doesn’t see any obstacles to the project in an area designated restricted commercial.

The area southeast of the site is a mix of high- and medium-density multifamily units and single-family homes.

“We’ve engaged in a dialogue with neighbors, and both sides are working together, but I don’t think it will be a problem,” Pastoriza said.

Goeseke declined comment, and Pastoriza would not discuss project details, citing confidentiality reasons.

If approved, the development would include 211,449 square feet of office space, 219 residential units, 234 hotel units and 6,512 square feet of ground-floor retail space, according to documents filed with the city.

The first floor would be stores and offices, the next 18 floors would be offices followed by nine floors of hotel space, an amenities deck and 26 levels of condo units.

The tower would include 596 parking spaces in a two-level basement garage accessible from 15th Road and another parking garage with access to Southwest 14th Terrace.

The proposed 710-foot structure requires approval from the Federal Aviation Administration because of its proximity to the Miami International Airport flight path.

Preliminary analysis by the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department indicated it would allow a 623-feet structure. Anything higher would need special approval, according to documents filed with the city. The department required the developer to submit additional information for further analysis.

Other nearby developments have obtained clearance for taller buildings. Brickell’s Infinity II, a development planned by Colonial Development Group, was approved as a 736-foot, 65-floor project.

Goeseke, project attorney Tony Recio of Weiss Serota and architect Luis Revuelta of Revuelta Vega Leon attended the Brickell Area Association’s latest board of directors meeting Nov. 14 to present a project overview, said Gloria Konsler, executive administrator for the association.

“The only concern some people had was if the building would create a shadow over Simpson Park, but the architect assured them it won’t because of the way it’s designed,” Konsler said

Revuelta could not be reached for comment before deadline.

Several real estate insiders have doubts about the project’s viability. They say a large-scale project such as the Columbus Centre would not be advisable in a market already overwhelmed by new condo construction and during a time when many developers have killed or delayed projects.

“The project is highly realistic but not in this cycle … not in the next 36 to 48 months,” said Robert Kaplan, principal of Olympian Capital Group. “I wouldn’t advise them to commence for another 24 months until the existing inventory starts to be digested.”

The project is targeted for completion in 2011, according to city documents.

The site is owned by Javier and Alicia Cervera, Nickel Goeseke and Veronica Cervera-Goeseke. They have owned two of the three lots since 1993. Nickel Goeseke and Veronica Cervera-Goeseke bought the adjacent third lot at 1450 S. Miami Ave. for $2.03 million in 2003.

Goeseke could be working with a co-developer or planning to sell the site after the concept is approved since Cervera is not a major developer, Kaplan said.

“My opinion is they are either trying to maximize the value of the land by getting this approval or they are planning to find a venture partner to co-develop it, if they don’t already have one,” he said.

Alicia Cervera, as head of Related Cervera Realty Services, has close ties to Jorge Perez’s Related Group, which said it is not involved in Columbus Centre.

Another major developer, Alan Ojeda of Rilea Group, which completed One Broadway Brickell across the street at 1451 S. Miami Ave. last year, also said he is not involved.

Several other projects are being developed in the Brickell area, including the 60-story Icon Brickell complex and the 57- and 52-story Capital at Brickell under development by CABI at 1421 S. Miami Ave.



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