Category Archives: BoB Series: A Closer Look

A Closer Look: South Beach (West Avenue Corridor)

Orientation

Cyclists, crowded outdoor cafes, restaurants, people walking dogs, cabs, and plenty of pedestrian activity is what the West Ave. Corridor is all about. The neighborhood is a calm haven for local life in touristy South Beach. As mentioned in the introductory post, the MDPL does not designate the neighborhood as a historic district, but that doesn’t mean it lacks aesthetic gusto. There is no neighborhood association, that I could find, registered with the municipality, and on the neighborhoods map, the City of Miami Beach addresses it as West Avenue, but there is much more to it than that.

Images: Side walk cafes in the Corridor

The narrow neighborhood straddles the south west coast of the Billion Dollar Sandbar. It’s located between Biscayne Bay and Alton Road (on the east and west) with Dade Blvd. and 5th Street making up its north and south boundaries. It’s bordered by the quiet Flamingo Park District to the east, popular Lincoln Road to the north east, Sunset Harbor and Bayshore to the north, and SoFi to the south. From the bay line, the world famous Star, Palm, and Hibiscus Islands are a glance away.

Image: Site of Vitri (foreground) and Bentley on the Bay (background)

Residential Activity

Beginning in the south and moving north, the Corridor gets off to an exciting start:

  • Bentley on the Bay, which was hampered by financial issues during construction and later suffered damage from Hurricane Wilma, greets visitors to the neighborhood. Through adversity the glassy twin towers have risen to grace the skyline with their wavy curves.
  • Vitri, located across from the Bentley, will close the development gap in the south with high end loft homes set amid a stunning design. The project is being spearheaded by NYC-based Shaya Boymelgreen as Lev Leviev has reportedly pulled away from most of his Miami interests.
  • North of the Bentley, the Floridian Condo Tower, built in 1997, resembles the Yacht Club at Portofino in SoFi.

Image: Rendering of Vitri

  • On the west side of the Corridor from 8th to 13th street there are seven (7) condos and apartment complexes built, on average, around 1965:
  1. South Bay Club Condo (1966)
  2. South Gate Apartments (1958)
  3. Mirador North (1965)
  4. Mirador South (1968)
  5. The site for the Mondrian (1964)
  6. Bayview Terrace (1971)
  7. Bay Garden Manor (1964)
  • The South Gate Apartment complex on 9th street, which spans almost 200,000 square feet of land is owned by a single entity. The Mondrian development might result in a conversion precedent that can be followed on this highly lucrative spot, which isn’t likely to remain an under utilized apartment complex for long.

Image: View of the Corridor from the Bay line

  • The Morgans Hotel Group’s plans for the Mondrian South Beach on 11th street is a definite positive push for this segment of the neighborhood. The company’s second project with the same name, NY-based MHG is planning a third in Chicago.
  • The Mirador complexes and the other older condo buildings represent a development barrier. Since they are high density and aged, they aren’t likely to be acquired and redeveloped any time soon. The funkiness of the 1960’s and early 1970’s architecture adds a vintage element to the Corridor that adds a bit of pizazz.

Image: Rendering of Twelfth on West

  • The Twelfth on West loft project planned for 12th street will represent an extremely high end and intricately thought out loft development—possibly the most distinguished in the district. Currently, there is little in the way of activity on the site.

North of 13th street there are a few notable developments:

  • Before getting to 13th, one comes across Monad Terrace—an odd little strip of small low income apartment complexes that, in comparison to the surroundings, stands out like a sore thumb. There is no activity on the strip and the Waverly looms conspicuously overhead
  • The Waverly, built in 2001, and designed by renowned Arquitectonica, is a 358ft tall 36 floor high end condominium. It’s one of the more easily identifiable developments in the area—the vertical sides of the building light up in yellow and blue at night.
  • Across the street from the Waverly, to the north, on 14th street, is the Sails Condo, which was built in 1999. The condo association seems to be lax because people have clothing hanging all over the balconies and cable wires hang messily over the roof. This level of sloppiness makes an otherwise nice building look bad.

Image: Waverly

  • 14th street connects with Bay Road which leads directly to the massive Zyscovich-designed Flamingo Condo conversion, owned by MCZ/Centrum. The expansive project has several wings with nicely designed street level lofts and a sleek cylindrical tower with a marked crown that illuminates in blue at night.
  • The east end of 14th terrace on West Avenue has a standout loft project, The Alliage, which features exceptionally high ceilings and deep terraces. There is construction on the site to the south of the Alliage but it isn’t clear what will go up there—probably another loft development. Adjacent to the construction site is 1400 West Avenue, which is up for sale and handled by Majestic.

  • A short walk away from the Alliage, 1577 Bay Road is a refreshingly designed newly constructed loft project called SoBe Bay. The design seems like a tiny condensed version of Ten Museum Park with horizontal-slit glass windows and an elevated cube-frame crown. In my view, there is no doubt that this is the area most well designed loft development. For more information go to Josh Stein’s site.

Image: Capri under construction

  • Off of Bay Road on 16th street is a new construction project called Capri designed by Kobi Karp. The development is high end and immediately north of the Flamingo. The four unit complex on the east of the site is up for sale. Prices start at the 600’s. The road leading up to the development is in worse than poor shape.
  • Farther up Bay Road, the Bayview Plaza Condo on 1621 Bay Road, built in 1997, represents a good quality condo development.
  • The building on the north east corner of Lincoln and Bay Road is up for sale.

Image: SoBe Bay Lofts
Retail/Commercial activity:

  • 929 West Avenue represents the most vital retail hub in the neighborhood. It houses several outdoor cafes including a Starbucks, a video store, a spa, and offices. The complex has ample sidewalks with benches and plenty of shade. It’s lined with people lounging in tables under the cover of colorful umbrellas—reminiscent of Lincoln Road.
  • On 11th street stands 1125 West Avenue, a mixed use condo with office space that includes Zyscovich offices. Built in 2004, the project’s design is an aesthetic asset to the neighborhood.



Image: Rendering Lincoln Square

  • Lincoln Square Miami is planned for the north end of West Avenue on Hank Meyer Blvd. (near Dade Blvd). The project will add retail and residential to the neighborhood’s north side. It’s situated within a short walking distance from Lincoln Road.
  • The vacant land across from the site of Lincoln Square is up for sale and has 30,350 square feet.
  • The ambitiously planned Shops at Fifth and Alton, developed as a JV between the Berkowitz Group and the Potamkin Family, although not inside the parameters of the West Avenue corridor, is near enough to boost traffic and visitor flow in the area. Once built, the project will be the neighborhood’s most important retail anchor.
  • Alton Road, which serves as the east boundary for the neighborhood, has a slew of retail. Although not the main interior thoroughfare in the WAC it is an integral part of makes the Corridor attractive. On Alton you can find anything from physics to coffee and donuts, Italian food, Colombian food, Liquor, flowers, and just about anything one needs.

Image: Flamingo Lofts (foreground) and Tower (background)
Last Glance
The West Avenue Corridor is a work in progress. Parts of it are heavily under utilized (i.e.: Monad Terrace) while there are sections that have projects that are symbols of the high life (Bentley, Vitri, Waverly, Sobe Bay, Alliage, Capri, Mondrian, etc).

The neighborhood is not as quiet and shady as the Flamingo Park District but has more retail and feels more edgy. There are several well situated sites for sale that are ripe for new development, and also an existing massive complex in South Gate Apartments, which if acquired could be redeveloped in magnificent fashion. The Mondrian could be a precedent for such an outcome. Other older condos like the Mirador, are likely to remain untouched by change but are seeing aesthetic renovations that have added value and desirability.

It is difficult to imagine a community better situated than the West Avenue Corridor. It’s flanked by world class neighborhoods and Biscayne Bay. Still, inexplicably, it lacks recognition, but not from BoB.

For more information regarding property value appreciation trends in this neighborhood use:

  

  

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A Closer Look: South Beach (West Ave. Corridor) INTRO

South Beach is divided into 11 historic districts by the Miami Design and Preservations League. This delineation of what neighborhood is what based on architecture is ideal. However, since not all areas have historic significance, the MDPL designations fall short of covering all areas. BoB intends to cover all areas of activity, nodes, neighborhoods, districts, whatever you may call them,based upon historic character, development activity, etc. My recent article on the Flamingo Park District led me to cover a neighboring community, but frankly, I don’t know what to call it. The neighborhood is bordered by Alton Rd (East), West Avenue (West), 5th street (South), and Dade Blvd. (North).

Since I couldn’t rely on MDPL’s map for guidance, I turned to the City of Miami Beach’s neighborhoods map, but there again, I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer. The area is referred to as “West Avenue”. The problem with that is that we’re talking about a neighborhood not an Avenue. Or are we? So in a last attempt to garner a neighborhood title, I reviewed the names of the various subject buildings in the area. Often times, a developer will name a building after the neighborhood, or his/her interpretation of what the neighborhood should be called. In doing so, I found no consistency. Here are some examples:

  • The Bentley Bay
  • The Floridian
  • South Bay Club
  • South Gate apts
  • Mirador
  • Mondrian
  • Mirador II
  • Bayview terrace
  • Bay Garden Manor
  • Waverly
  • Flamingo
  • Island View Park
  • Sunset Harbor
  • Sunset Harbor North

No help there. After some thought, I decided that it is prudent to use the City’s designation but add “corridor” to it. That was quite a bit of thought devoted to getting a title and the process is an indication of how this community is, in many respects, off the radar. With that said, I can now work on the 2nd installment of A Closer Look: South Beach (West Avenue Corridor -WAC), which will highlight a neighborhood that, despite certain development challenges, is poised to become South Beach’s next signature community.

Image: Mondrian coming soon to the WAC

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A Closer Look: South Beach (Flamingo Park District South)

Map: The area outlined in red is the Flamingo Park District South, which is the focus of this piece.

Orientation

This weekend I had a discussion with Josh Stein– a well known realtor specializing in high end South Beach lofts– and he mentioned that the area from 5th street to 11th in between Alton Road and Euclid Avenue was the frontier of South Beach. I thought “frontier of South Beach” sounds kind of paradoxical, but after giving the area a closer look, I’ve come to realize that Josh’s assessment is on the money.

Map: Flamingo Park District in its entirety is shown in Pink

The area in question is designated as the Flamingo Park Historic District by the Miami Design Preservation League. Josh mentioned the southern part of this district. I will, therefore, focus on the southern half of the Flamingo Park District from 5th street to 11th street (south to north) and from Alton to Pennsylvania Ave (west to east).

Images: Foliage in the District

First off, it goes without saying that the Flamingo Park District is surrounded by a hubbub of activity on almost every side. The raucous Washington Avenue runs along the east side of the District. The busy Alton Road runs along the west side. The bourgeoning SoFi area sizzles to the south. Interestingly, the area has no major residential or commercial development anchors, but that will soon change with the shops at 5th and Alton, which is currently planned but not yet seeing any construction activity. The anchor will hold down the area’s south west corner. Other developments that are sure to influence the district are Vitri, also to the south west, and the Mondrian to the north west.

Image: The Terrace Loft

Activity

The distinctly Floridian neighborhood is composed of a melange of sharply designed historic buildings creating a rich tapestry of pastel colors all set amid lush green tropical foliage. It is pedestrian friendly and shaded in most avenues. The Flamingo Park District is vestige of Miami Beach’s past and most genuine island lifestyle. The architecture gives one a sense of the city’s history. While South Beach is synonymous with noise, traffic, and partying, the Flamingo Park District affords its residents a tropical retreat.

Image: 1016 Meridian

The area maintains itself as a historic and relatively untapped, which would explain Josh Stein’s assessment, but there is quite a bit of activity changing the face of this funky and colorful enclave:

  • Casa 40 (1061 Michigan Avenue) is a newly renovated loft project with prices starting at 595k

Image: Villa Lucca under construction

  • Down the Road from Casa 40 is Villa Lucca, which is a combination restoration and new construction development on Michigan Avenue involving four properties (1045, 1037, 1025, 1027) and 15 residences. The new construction is called the Villa Lucca Condominium and will feature roof top terraces with jacuzzis.
  • The Terrace is a new loft project also on Michigan Avenue. It doesn’t appear to have a website but features high ceilings, covered parking, and rooftop terraces. Sales are being handled by Ingrid Lopez at Miami Elite Brokers.
  • The 762 Lenox Avenue historic building is for sale.

Image: Casa 40

  • 1041 8th Street is also for sale and being handled by Susan Gale/Majestic Properties.
  • 734 Michigan Avenue represents the most luxurious and singularly designed loft project in the District. Sales are being handled by Josh Stein and BoB will provide you with a look inside soon.
  • The building to the north of 734 Michigan (740, 742, 744) is boarded up and ripe for redevelopment.
  • Nine 45 Jefferson is another new loft project with 7 high end 2/2.5 town homes. The project is designed by Kobi Karp.



Image: 734 Michigan Ave

  • 960 Jefferson Avenue is for Sale
  • 928 Jefferson Avenue is newly renovated and units are for sale including 6 studios and 1 townhouse.
  • 751 Meridian is newly renovated and has condos up for sale starting at $189,900
  • 729 Meridian (Helen Rose) is newly renovated and offering state of the art designer finishes for its one bedroom units.
  • Also on Meridian Ave., Villa Veneto offers 8 “elegantly restored” 1 and 2 bedroom (2 story town homes) units starting at $179,700
  • Porto Condos on 9th and Meridian will be newly renovated and condos will start from the high $200’s. Sales are being handled by Ocean International Realty.
  • The Ambassador, also on Meridian, is being restored and will offer 1/1 and 2/2 units. It will feature Italian kitchens, stainless steel appliances, bamboo flooring, high impact windows and more. Sales are being handled by International Living Realty.



Image: A shady Meridian Avenue

  • 1017 Meridian is a brand new strikingly-designed loft project on Meridian Avenue. According to Zillow, a unit there was sold recently for $542k
  • The 1120 Meridian building (14 units) is for sale.
  • Greta Condominium is a newly restored condo on Euclid starting from the $180’s.
  • The historic 935 Euclid building was recently restored and has some units up for sale.
  • The Citadel Group still has one unit left in the Moulin Rouge project, although their site claims all have been sold. they should change the sign.
  • Blue Place is another recently restored development in the area. Prices start at the 300’s. More information can be found on Miamirealestate.com.


Image: 1051 Meridian (the historic Flamingo Plaza building)

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A Closer Look: Uptown (Midtown Miami)

Getting Started
Midtown Miami is the type of project that forever alters the urban landscape and character of a city. It is hard to put it up against all others. Although all new projects contribute their presence, Midtown Miami is a city within a city. Granted, it will take time for it to be fully built, and there are those that are skeptical it will ever get completely built. However, this project is much too large and already set in motion. Although it can slowdown, it will not stop. Even more important than Midtown Miami’s huge contribution to the urban mix is understanding what stood there before and how it categorically denied any real urban progress in Uptown. Prior to this emerging dazzling array of modern structures was a 56 acre railroad storage yard stacked high with columns of rusted railroad containers. The entire 56 acre area had no infrastructure. It was like a cancerous hole in the city. The storage yard deterred any interest in the entire area, helped diminish Tibor Hollo’s ambitious plans in Omni/Venetia, and hindered the Design District’s allure. To make matters worse, it was centrally located east of the I-95 in the heart of what is now Uptown. In the early nineties, it would have been nearly impossible to fathom that a massive brand new multi-phase mini-city could be built there. Today, because of Midtown Miami, the entire area stands to be catapulted into the new 21st century urban Miami. Yet Midtown Miami itself is not nearly as important as its expected deep effect on the entire area surrounding it. First, one must understand the significant scope and nature of this historic project. Subsequently, its inevitable effects on the urban periphery will become evident.

Midtown Miami At a Glance:
The project has these main components: 2 Midtown, 3 Midtown, 4 Midtown, Midblock, 6 Midtown, and the Shops at Midtown:

2 Midtown: Bernard Zyscovich

2M Mews – A loft segment of the project featuring open unit spaces and extra high ceilings. Mixed use, for both commercial and residential use.
2M Midrise – 62 mixed-use units, 5 levels
2M Tower – 256 units, 29 floors (320ft)

3 Midtown – Chad Oppenheim
3M Mews – A loft segment of the project featuring open unit spaces and extra high ceilings.
3M Midrise – Split level units located at the pedestal level
3M – Tower – 29 floors (309 feet)
3M Penthouse – 7 penthouse split level units at the crown level

4 Midtown – Nichols, Brosch, Wurst, Wolf, and Associates

4M Mews – A loft segment of the project featuring open unit spaces and extra high ceilings.
4M Midrise – Split level units located at the pedestal level
4M Tower – 33 floors (350ft.),

Midblock – Peter Spittler
MB Town homes
MB Lofts and Tower

6 Midtown – Data N/A

The Shops at Midtown
600,000 sq ft.
Managed by DDR

Project size – 18 city blocks on 56 acres with over 600,000 sq. ft. of retail space and over 3000 residential units

Lead Developer – Joe Cayer

Phases Summary
Easily, the most impressive of the Midtown phases is 2, due to its respectable height and unique aspects such as the Midrise portion which has an astounding glass encased multi-cube design. 4 Midtown is also impressive with its taller height and standout crown. Each project has the high-ceiling and open-space loft component featuring split levels. The Mews are those mixed use units at the foot of each building. The Midrise segment consists of those units located at the pedestal level, and the Tower units have lower ceiling heights but soar above all other units in distance from the ground. The Penthouse levels, as expected, are impressive with unique split level floor plans.

Midtown Miami and Uptown
Miami’s skyline cannot be considered mature without a broad area of density. In the recent past, density was loosely centralized around the financial district in the CBD. Brickell had some decent pockets of density as well, but it was not continuous and connected to other pockets of density. Gradually, with so many new developments coming through, the gaps started closing, but in Uptown there were until recently, no pockets of density except the tiny Omni-Venetia enclave. With the construction of the PAC, several projects were announced along Edgewater, but this development was along the bay front away from Biscayne Blvd. and definitely not west of it. This meant that Uptown was emulating Brickell to the south; where density was mostly confined along the bay. This seemed to be the case until Midtown Miami was announced. Then there was a paradigm shift; Not only would there be inland development in Uptown but the westward densification might exceed that of Brickell Village. This was a sudden change in possibilities. Brickell was an established neighborhood. Brickell had the name recognition and posh reputation. Uptown seemed an upstart. Uptown’s viability suddenly rested on Midtown Miami as much as the PAC to the south and smattering of Edgewater developments to the east. Midtown Miami became, arguably, Uptown’s most important urban pillar and therefore Miami’s too. It offered to be an anchor of stability and progress in the center of Uptown. Other development anchors such as the Design District and the PAC combined to develop a certain sense of hype and excitement about the upstart urban neighborhood.

A Note on Uptown
Uptown is a new concept, not altogether established, and widely elaborated on in this blog. It is an important idea because it identifies an emerging urban powerhouse of a neighborhood in an area that was development starved for decades. In the next three years Uptown will grow faster in densification than Brickell and the CBD did in 15 years. The latter two saw steady rather uneventful climbs in development through the years. Currently, both are experiencing major new construction activity, and Uptown is lagging bit behind but still Uptown came from nowhere. Take Midtown Miami out of the Uptown equation and the entire area becomes hollow. A vast void is left in the center. Thankfully, that is not the case, and Midtown Miami will beat as a heart in the center of the rapidly booming urban neighborhood.

Midtown Miami and the Design District

Midtown Miami will feel commercial. Its hard for it not to considering the several big name national retailers setting up nearby. These national retail giants add an immediate economic viability to the former urban blackhole. The area’s landscaping is beautiful and refreshing. The streets are new and clean. The buildings have sharp, forward-thinking designs. They compose an array of the finest architectural designs from the drawing boards of architectural stars. The area, still mostly under construction and unoccupied, is already buzzing with activity. It feels like being in the past and peering into an exciting future. As the buildings gradually become fully occupied, new shops will continue to open, and traffic will flow through Midtown Blvd., you will see the boost in car and pedestrian traffic in the Design District. This will give the Design D istrict some much needed visibility and exposure not to mention help boost projects such as Cor and Aria. The two neighborhood’s , although different in character, will come to intermingle in activities and people. Craig Robins will surely capitalize off of the momentum in the Design District.

Midtown Miami and Edgewater

Edgewater, to the east, will benefit significantly from the establishment of this new 18 block urban neighborhood in the interior. The long and slender bay front neighborhood is bisected by 26 or so streets and is not exactly practical to traverse by car, bike, or foot. There is no avenue that runs through the entire neighborhood from north to south. This type of neighborhood lends itself better to residential use. The nearby Midtown Miami project, with its massive retail component, will undoubtedly ignite a retail wave in the area’s interior. This will provide the mostly residential Edgewater neighborhood a conveniently close retail hub. On the other hand, Edgewater, with its numerous high-density, high-end, and newly-developed residential projects will provide a vast pool of potential consumers for Midtown’s retail market.

Problems
There have been legitimate complaints regarding the developer. Legally, the developer is obliged to adhere to certain time constraints when it comes to construction and unit owners naturally expect for this to occur. When it does not, confidence in the developer and investment is shaken, plus the developer becomes vulnerable to litigation. It is not altogether clear as to how much the developer has transgressed in this regard, but certainly enough for outside observers to take notice. Negative rumblings regarding the Nirvana project is beginning to fuel some concern among Midtown investors. It is likely that Midtown investors will not lose sight that their role is an historic one. Midtown investors are the quintessential urban pioneers; setting foot in areas once blighted, now new; composing the social fabric that will emit the energy that will define this new and immensely important neighborhood. This should solidify their patience as it will bear fruit unlike any other. The massive scale of the Midtown project and need to attain government funding for necessary infrastructure might explain some of the delays. The reported lack of adequate communication between investors and the developer along with the sale of the majority of the project is feuling concerns, but this all fails to overshadow the project’s overall significance.

To be continued…

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A Closer Look: CBD (Jewelry District)

A Global Neighborhood
Miami’s Jewelry District is not often talked about. Considering how important a hub for jewelry it is throughout the region, it probably should. Miami-based international jewelry distributors supply jewelry stores in St. Maarten, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, Mexico, North, Central and South America. Miami’s Jewelry District is one of the most important in the country due to its influence throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. In the neighborhood, you can find loose rubies, emeralds, peridots, aquamarines, and tanzanite at, for example, Ruben’s House of Stones or Royal Gems, in the Seybold Building. In the Jewelry District, Lebanese, Iranians, and Syrians do business with Jews from around the world. English, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian, Arab, Farsi, Urdu, Mandarin and Hindi are spoken by business owners. Vendors from throughout Asia fly-in and meet with existing and prospective clients. Everyday, FedEx, UPS, and DHL trucks clog up the streets due to the heavy volume of jewelry exports and imports from throughout the world.

Everything Jewelry
You can find coral strands, South Sea, Tahitian, and Akoya pearls, Cartier watches, diamond tennis bracelets, natural fancy colored canary diamonds, and just about any other rare stone or material used in jewelry. A Hip-Hop producer or professional athlete can buy himself a 32-inch diamond tennis chain with 155 individual ½ carat diamonds set on platinum. Gold is prepared in labs at places like Atomic Gold in the old Foremost Building, now One Flagler. There is more silver in A.G.M. Mfg. than anywhere else in the Florida, at least. Gold chains hang from racks by the hundreds and look like cascades of gold. The entire jewelry industry is represented in the District. There are stone setters, gold mixers, diamond vendors, mold-makers, engravers, polishers, casters, gemologists, watch-makers, pearl stranders and they all do business for the jewelers. There are suppliers for neckpieces , gift boxes, jewelry trays, diamond paper, scales, tweezers, testers, loupes, and just about any piece of equipment or tool related to jewelry. The Miami Jewelry District is the primary supplier for jewelers in Florida and the Caribbean. OroGemma, Accar ltd., Nemaro, Coral and Stone, Michael’s, Ely-M, Metro Gold, Haimov, A.G.M., Diamond Club, Freddy’s Diamonds, Carrion, and Hidalgo are among the most important jewelers in the Southestern U.S. The area, although not large, is filled with activity and is commercially well-established. Not all stores sell to the public.

Neighborhood Composition
The Seybold Building, built in the 1920’s, is the most popular shopping venue with over 280 jewelry businesses and serves as the center of Miami’s Jewelry District. Other establishments to note are Metromall, the International Jewelry Center, the Flagler Jewelry Center, Dupont Building, and there are jewelry stores throughout the area. The Seybold Building has valet parking. There is a garage on N.E. 3rdstreet. The neighborhood is three blocks east of Biscayne blvd. 50 Biscayne, Everglades on the Bay, the Lofts I and II and Met 3 are a short walk away. Capitol Lofts at the Security Building and Flagler First are in the center of the District and are both historic restorations being converted into condominiums. The area will probably become more upscale and retail-oriented as time passes. As it is, the neighborhood is no Fifth Avenue, but given the amount construction, diamonds, jewels and gold present in the area, the District will rapidly evolve and draw more attention than ever before.

The Ifs and Buts
If the Marlins stadium gets built north of the Stephen P. Clark Center, then it will create a hugely positive effect only a few blocks away from the Jewelry District’s heart. There are plans for City Tower on N.E. 3rdStreet. Lynx is two blocks south, but the project is up for sale. There are some Jewelry shopping facilities that were planned but never opened (The Jewelry Center at 1st and 1st) , there is a new one that was opened but is still mostly vacant (International Jewelry Center), there are several that are a bit old and under-maintained (Metromall and Commonwealth Building) . Flagler One, the old Foremost, is now selling office/condos. The new developments on the north of the Miami River (Mint, Wind, and Ivy) are about two and half blocks south. There are rumors that Jorge Perez’s Related Group has plans for the parking lot west of the Metromall on N.E. 1st street, which if proved to be true, would mark his most interior development in the CBD; a sign of major progress for the neighborhood. Currently, no Related Group acquisition has been entered into the books, but given his Loft I and II projects and the potential Marlins Stadium in the far west interior, it wouldn’t be surprising if Mr. Perez did spearhead a more westward development effort in the CBD. It is important to note that Macy’s has their largest Miami store in the Jewelry District. Although it isn’t new, it is huge with multiple floors and can be easily revamped to become its flagship Miami store by riding the neighborhood’s development wave. All the new projects within and around the Jewelry District will provide more shoppers for the District. The sidewalk and street improvements are already benefiting the area as is the new landscaping and palm tree lighting. Currently, the area has no nightlife whatsoever. Maybe that will change after buildings nearby get topped off, new residents occupy the area, and stores and restaurants stay open till later.

 

Map of the area:

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A Closer Look: Uptown (North Edgewater NE 25th – 36th st)

This article is a continuation of a south to north evaluation of Edgewater beginning at 25th street.

N.E. 25th Street begins with a vacant lot in the south entrance of the street and Latin America Café in the northern front lot. As one continues down this street the Mondrian occupies a good portion of the south side. It is important to note that 25th street has quite a few parcels for sale—more so than most other streets in Edgewater. More of what the street will appear like in the near future begins to emerge as you head towards the bay. There are two new unique loft projects—Baylofts, which is one of the two, is fully occupied and has quite a bit of activity. At the rear bay front portion of the street, Onyx and Star Lofts are both under construction. Onyx is all but topped off and Star Lofts is coming along quite nicely. The fact this street has two major bay front developments along the bay as well as relatively new loft projects along the rear interior, in addition to a significant amount of parcels for sale, indicates that N.E. 25th street is primed for rapid growth. It already is one of the more established streets in the area.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for N.E 26th Street. The two front Biscayne Blvd. parcels are occupied by under-utilized buildings. Majestic has one property for sale, and the rear south bay parcel is occupied by the north side of Onyx. The rear north bay front lot is occupied by a small condominium. The majority of the interior is filled with old buildings—little sign of activity.

N.E. 26th Terrace to the north has more of a single-family home residential feel to it. Other than a long rectangular lot the site of the mid-rise Absolute Bay Lofts project, there isn’t much activity to report on the surface, but let’s dig deeper. Much of the homes have been owned by the same owners since the 1980’s. However, on the 501, 525, and 535 lots (all next to one another) things change. They were bought in 2005 by a company called JS 26 LLC. Clearly, the odds are that this company is probably going to spearhead an urbanization effort on the street. The real development on this street is the presence of Aja on the bay (formerly Electra) on the south bay front lot of the street. This development will change the street for good and embolden the multi-parcel owners on the interior to get moving with their urbanization intentions, and possibly persuade the old owners to sell and cash out. The north bay lot is owned by a religious group.

Continuing north into N.E. 27th street, there are some interesting on the surface developments. First, the sign for District Lofts remains in place. There is no activity on the site to report. This mid rise project represents a trend of mid rise development along Biscayne Boulevard and within Edgewater. This type of mid rise densification will create a unique streetscape when combined with some sporadic high rises through out. Still, the new 31 floor Lyghte project is located on 27th Street along the southern portion of the bay inlet, and this development, which has an extremely appealing design and illumination concept, will likely serve as a catalyst for future similar development along the street. Lyghte is next to a bay front property owned by a religious group. It is not clear what will happen with properties owned by religious groups. In fact both rear N.E. 27th street bay front lots are owned by a religious group. Interestingly, the same company that has three parcels on N.E. 26th terrace (JS26 LLC.) owns multiple parcels on 27th street as well. They own 520, 532, 600, and 512. When combined with the 26th terrace parcels that they own, the total is 8 lots all situated next to one another on two streets. This company probably has major plans for these 8 parcels. Still, 27th terrace, especially as it nears Biscayne Blvd. has a significant amount of multi-family apartment units that have been old for a long time. The development of Lyghte and anticipated future development will boost the value of the street and possibly encourage those owners to sell, but Lyghte has to get off the ground first.

N.E. 28th street is important because it is home of the Onyx2 lot, which has no activity on it and the sales center looks abandoned. The Onyx2 lot is for sale and so are the project’s plans and permits. 28th street is much shorter than the most Edgewater streets because it runs into a bay inlet. The two front Biscayne parcels are under-utilized and there are quite a few parcels in the interior of the street that are for sale. When researching land acquisitions one realizes that the south side of 28th street has parcels that have been owned longer than the north side, which has quite a few recent acquisitions. There are no groups acquiring parcels in bundles though, at least not under the same corporate entity. Much of the acquisitions on the north side of the street took place around 2004. Unless the Onyx2 project begins construction, which doesn’t seem to be happening, N.E. 28th street looks to remain, more or less, at a stand still. The Onyx people own the bay lots on 28th street. If they can’t build, someone will surely step into the fold real quick.

Moving on up to N.E. 29th street, development activity is slow, except for Moon Bay on the northern part of the inlet. The rear bay lots are occupied by a condominium to on the south and a property that has been owned since 1975 to the north. 29th street is alos home to the abandoned Vista projects. The lot is currently for sale. Across form the Vista lot are two parcels on vacant land that are owned by Aquablu LLC., plans remain unclear. The north part of 29th street has a surprising amount of recent acquisitions. In contrast, the south part of the street has almost no recent acquisitions. Through a land acquisition standpoint, the street is evolving in an uneven pace. Still, as far as the recent acquisitions are concerned, there are no clear big plans.

A hop and skip away on N.E. 30th street, things really pick up steam. 30th street is the closest one gets to a glimpse of the future of Edgewater. This is where the Yorker, Platinum, and Porti Di Oro are. Plans for Platinum on the Bay, if successful, will make this street one of the most active in Edgewater outside of North Bayshore Drive to the south. The street has a mid rise feel to it. The activity, in terms of development picks up as one nears the bay, but the front Biscayne lots have been purchased in 2005, so the implication is that given the neighborhoods current positive state, those Biscayne lots are almost sure to see activity soon.

The biggest problem on N.E. 31st street is the Village Rehabilitation facility for addicts. There are plans for Element, formerly Ice 2, but there is little activity to be excited about. The truth is: few people want a rehabilitation facility for drug addicts on their block. The facility owners occupy about 11 parcels on the street and their presence is bogging down the value of the block.

As we near the northern fringes of Edgewater, we get to 32nd street. The proposed 33 floor Park Lane tower is planned for the vacant Biscayne north lot. To the south is Walgreens. This Park Lane development, should it get topped off, will mark a potential tipping of the development scales towards high rise construction on Biscayne Boulevard versus mid-rise. Cite, Uptown, City 24, 3333 Biscayne and District Lofts are some examples of the mid-rise wave. But, the Chelsea, Cardinal Symphony, Soleil, and Park Lane are examples of a high rise shift on the boulevard. 32nd street has quite a few under utilized properties through the span of the street. At the rear bay front lot, there are plans for Ice. The site has no activity. On both 31st and 32nd streets, the Element and Ice developers own nearly half of the parcels.

33rd Street is seeing an interesting development in 3333 Biscayne, which is located on the north lot of 33rd street. The south lot is occupied by the Park lane tower. With the advent of both towers, the street will be impacting to enter. When traveling along 33rd street there are quite a few under utilized properties and the bay front parcel is occupied by the Bay Park Condominium. There isn’t much in the form of recent acquisitions on 33rd street.

The front south parcel of N.E. 34th street will be occupied by 3333 Biscayne. The front north parcel is occupied by the BP gas station. Directly across Biscayne Blvd., it is important to not that there are plans for Boulevard, a new development. The rear south bay front parcel is vacant. It seems to be the lot designated for Sky Residences. There is absolutely no activity on the site. The condominium association at Hamilton was in litigation against the Sky developers. The litigation seems to have cost the developers a pretty penny. Hamilton occupies the north bay front parcel. Directly to the west of Hamilton is a retirement home. There are quite a few recent acquisitions (within the last three years) on the south side of 34th street, but there is no dominant buyer.

35th Street has Pollo Tropical in the front south and McDonald’s in the front north parcels. A company called Productions and Invest Colombus Inc. owns four major parcels along the north side of 35th street. This could be the sign of a future major development taking place there. Currently, there are no clear plans. The rear bay lots are occupied by Hamilton on the south and the 600 condominium building on the north.

N.E. 36th street most popular structure is Blue at the north rear bay front parcel. The south rear bay front lot is occupied by the 600 condominium building. There are plans for the 22 floor 5th Avenue lofts tower, which will probably encourage westward development along 36th street.

In summary, the Edgewater neighborhood is seeing major development activity, but it is sporadic. The bay areas, naturally, are seeing the most major developments and high rise construction. But, the Biscayne Boulevard parcels have several interesting, mostly, mid rise, developments as well. There are many factors working in favor of this neighborhood. For one, it is a bay community. All parcels are within a short walk from the bay. Secondly, it is sandwiched in between four burgeoning neighborhoods (the PAC district to the couth, Midtown Miami toe immediate west, the Design District to the north west, and the exclusive Baypoint gated community to the north. However, there are still too many pockets of under utilized structures, many parcels that have been owned for over a decade, at least one retirement community, a rehabilitation center for drug addicts, and several major properties that are owned by religious groups. Additionally, the neighborhood isn’t exactly easy to navigate by car. Through a development standpoint, none of these factors work in the favor of the community. The advent of projects Onyx, Moonbay, Star Lofts, Platinum, Uptown Lofts, City 24, Mondrian, and Blue will keep the momentum going, but the problems seen with Onyx2, Element, and Sky Residences are holding the community back. This neighborhood will be vastly different within the next 5 years. Many of the older residents will find it far too lucrative not to sell. The large amount of recent land acquisition, and importantly, bundle acquisitions, indicates that there is a lot of planning going on behind the scenes. It is encouraging to see new ambitious developments such as Lyghte, 3333 Biscayne, and Park Lane. Hopefully, they won’t get frozen like some other near by examples. Still, the area, whether there are defunct projects or not, is extremely valuable, well situated, and will have the influence of art and culture spilling over from Wynwood, the PAC District, and the Design District. This will be one of Miami’s most energetic and exciting neighborhoods, but not traffic ridden or noisy. I suspect that the area will keep as certain quiet residential feel despite all the nearby activity. I mean this in relation to neighborhoods like Parkwest, the CBD, and the PAC District. Continuing to monitor this vital urban neighborhood’s progress is a top priority for Bob.

 

 

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A Closer Look: Parkwest (interior)

 

 

I had to make a correction because in looking at the DDA’s maps, the area of this analysis is listed as Parkwest. The area that is referred to as the Media and Entertainment District is actually the area around the PAC, which is considered by many to be the PAC district. Regardless, it is important to adhere to government development designations, so I will. Parkwest is an interesting idea to entertain. I say idea because the area hasn’t exactly fully materialized. It is in the center of the city, situated directly next to over a billion dollars worth of new development, has seen a significant amount of recent land acquisitions, and is located right next to public transportation. The City of Miami has designated the area as the PArkwest which is directly to the south of the designated Media and Entertainment District. Currently, there are two huge clubs in Space and Nocturnal in the Parkwest area. There are a couple of other establishments including a strip club, but those aren’t as significant as the two aforementioned clubs. If you throw in the nearby Pawn Shop lounge across the I-395 then you have a viable clubbing district. Already if you drive by the area heading east on the I-395 you’ll notice the huge lit up outdoor ads. This is extremely important to take notice of, because this area lends itself perfect to outdoor ads and is designated by the city to be an outlet for the media. The neighborhood has high exposure to people and the warehouse-like buildings that compose the majority of the area have big bleak concrete surfaces that are just begging to be covered up with a posh outdoor ads. Piccadilly Circus in London, Ginza in Tokyo, and Times Square in NYC are perfect examples of highly evolved Media and Entertainment districts. Miami’s M & E District is a far cry from those and has a disturbingly generic name, but with the construction of Marquis, Ten Museum Park, Marina Blue, 900 and 600 Biscayne, Paramount Park, and Marquis West in Parkwest the whole area is going to surge with activity. The repositioning of the I-395 will add park space to the northern boundary of the Parkwest and the south boundary of the M&E District which will make it more accessible and pedestrian friendly. Already, when analyzing land acquisitions in the neighborhood one sees interesting patterns. Lev Leviev and Shaya Boymelgreen own a significant amount of prime parcels throughout the area along NE 2nd Avenue and NE 11th Street. Along the east side of NE 2nd avenue almost all of the parcels were bought after 2005. The Royal Palm Group owns a significant amount of parcels on 2nd Avenue as well although it is not clear what their plans are. The 2nd Avenue lots are situated directly behind the skyscrapers under construction along the Biscayne Boulevard portion of Parwest and the people mover line runs parallel to the plots as well. Through a convenience and centrality standpoint, the neighborhood is extremely valuable. Glenn Straub is not going to sit on the Miami Arena for much longer. Plans for that lot are likely to be ambitious if the arena is demolished. This will provide a positive development anchor to the south west of the M & E District. The emerging PAC District to the north will lend benefits to the neighborhood as well. Still, the development of the nearby Parkwest towers is what the neighborhood rests its promise on. The outcome may be similar to what is seen in the So Fi neighborhood of South Beach; near the Portofino Tower, Continuum, Apogee, and Murano. Those high rises straddle an area that has several major night clubs Opium Garden and Nikki Beach are just two. There are several restaurants nearby that are quite successful. This South of Fifth Miami Beach example is perfect because it too was once derelict like Parkwest currently is and blossomed subsequent to the development of nearby towers. The M&E District is seeing a high concentration of dense development surrounding it and there are other important neighborhoods emerging along side of it as well. This all stands to benefit the M&E District greatly. Currently the area is quiet, except for the clanking and banging of the construction nearby, but those sounds are a constant reminder of the future of this promising urban neighborhood. For more information on the designated M & E district or PAC district view the article from this url: https://bobmiami.wordpress.com/2006/10/27/a-closer-look-at-uptown-part-i-the-pac-district/

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A Closer Look: Uptown (South Edgewater NE 17th – 24th st)

The Edgewater section of Uptown is within these geographic boundaries: west of Biscayne Bay, east of Biscayne Blvd, south of the Julia Tuttle Causeway, and north of N.E. 17th terrace. The area comprises about twenty three blocks north of N.E. 17th street and is, on average, about 5 blocks wide. This narrow urban neighborhood has a significant amount of development activity taking place in and around it. It seems that Edgewater will have an array of mid-rises around 15 to 20 floors high along Biscayne Blvd and will have much taller high-rises along the bay. When driving around the area, you will find that almost every street ends at the bay. Edgewater is a conglomeration of the new and the old. Much of the community is composed of under-utilized rental apartment buildings and there are some blocks of small residential single-family homes and condominiums. In order to fully grasp the potential of the area one has to analyze the Edgewater neighborhood street by street.

Heading from south to north, Edgewater gets off to a great start. If you’re heading up through N. Bayshore Drive, after passing the PAC, you swing past the Venetia and the Grand on your right and the Omni to your left. You’ll notice the Opera Tower looming over your head. Currently, the neighborhood feels quite urban, but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Keep in mind that we are currently in what I consider South Edgewater, or the northern fringes of the developing PAC District. The Omni, in the near future, may house up to 7 skyscrapers. Let us not forget the Terra Group’s plans for the 10-acre Knight Ridder property. In a way, the South Edgewater neighborhood will ride the coattails of the PAC District’s new found popularity and urbanism. Continuing north along N. Bayshore Dr. you’ll come across a beautiful, seemingly hidden, bay front green space; Margaret Pace park. The palm tree laden 6 acre gem faces several notable properties: Opera Tower, The Grand, 1800 Club, Bay Parc Plaza, Quantum North and South Towers, Cite, and Paramount Bay is near enough to cast its shadow over the park’s neatly trimmed lawn. It is worthy to note that this park, as recently as 2003, was filled with trash and homeless people. Now it will serve as an urban oasis along the bay.

 

Parallel to this same area along Biscayne Blvd. there are two major vacant city blocks. The north lot is owned by the Bronx-based Chinese American Community Assoc. To the south of it, a lady owns half of the lot and a company called V Downtown, Inc. owns the other half—site of the Quantum sales center. It is not clear what will happen on these vacant lots along Biscayne Blvd. in between N.E. 17th and 19th streets. The trend along Biscayne Boulevard’s east side is mid-rises (Cite, Uptown Lofts, Mondrian, District Lofts, and City 24). But at the same time, the PAC District to the south will boast the Chelsea, Cardinal Symphony among others that are quite tall. It is also important to note that Tibor Hollo owns the vacant lot east of the Opera Tower, and there are plans for Portico to north of it—directly west of Quantum (the property takes up two lots). Moving north past NE 21st street, there is not much to say except the Unity Church composes a large portion of the south side of 22nd street and the rear bay lots are occupied by two underutilized residential complexes, Edgewater Hall (owned by Brickell based BE22 LLC) in the south and old 25 unit condo in the north.

The 23rd and 24th street corridor has quite a bit more activity to consider. The recently topped off Uptown Lofts composes the westernmost portion of 23rd street (east of the Boulevard) and City 24 lies directly to the north at the southern 24th street entrance directly on Biscayne Boulevard. The Mondrian is going up just to the east of City 24–both developments are currently under-construction There are also plans for a small loft project known as Rive Gauche directly east of Mondrian but there is no activity on the site. For the most part however, along this 23/24 street corridor leading up to the bay there is not much activity—plenty of under utilized properties. There is one property that sits on the southern side of 24th street that is special. It is a home built in 1925 that sits on a 14,075 sq. ft. lot directly on the bay. It’s owned by a doctor named Panagiota Caralis. This man, a respected member of the medical community, owns one of the best bay front properties in the entire city—kudos to him. Still, there is a lot more developmental activity going on to the north in Edgewater. Carefully, in analyzing the details, as will soon be seen, an idea of the neighborhood’s unfolding identity will begin to emerge.

(to be continued)

Below- South Edgewater:

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What is BOB Miami?


I’m Miami BOB. I believe that Miami’s continuing development boom is phenomenal and is going to lead to it becoming a world class metropolis. I am native to the city and have been watching it’s growth with eager eyes since I can remember. This current boom is unlike any other in Miami’s history, and American Urban history will defintely take notice of it. If this current boom busts and most of the buildings get stalled or are never built, then it will be a devastating real estate crash that would go down as one of the largest on record. But, if the growth continues near the current level of activity, either residential or commercial, then Miami as we know it, will become a city that will impress the whole world with the massive scale of its new urbanity.

The density begins in the city of Miami’s Central Business District and spreads out in all directions, with pockets of rising density throughout the county. I will navigate you through the news, data, maps, neighborhoods, and articles that involve Miami’s continuing growth. MiamiBoomOrBust.com has gathered and cited as many sources as can be compiled on the subject, analyzed the information, composed articles and illustrations to provide a Big Picture Analysis. And Hopefully you, the reader, will contribute with your own opinion, pictures, and information.

We do not endorse or sell any units or new or existing construction projects. We are documenting the historic growth and development of a city that is fast becoming one of the Western Hemisphere’s most important centers of civilization. Based out of Miami’s Central Business District, we are in the trenches of activity. We take it one report at a time, go from neighborhood to neighborhood, and scrutinize one developer at a time. We are interested in everything having to do with subject.

Miami is a different kind of United States metropolis. It’s the country’s southernmost metropolis. It’s the hemisphere’s only truly bilingual metropolis–fifty percent of the population speak Spanish and English. It is situated in a tri-county area that sees over 80% of the international trade between North and Latin America, except Mexico. It is has large Central and South American as well as Caribbean communities. European interest in the city has spanned the eighties and early nineties into the new millennium with renewed fascination. The Winter Music Conference sees thousands of international world-renown DJ’s, mostly European. Switzerland based Art Basel, has brought Miami to the international art spotlight. The world’s top two luxury fashion companies have their Latin American headquarters here. It is Florida’s most populous metropolis. The city’s beaches have the warmest and clearest water in the continental United States, according to the Travel Channel. South Beach has the largest concentration of historic Art Deco architecture in the country. The marvelous architectural backdrop is home to some of the country’s most luxurious, public and private, establishments. The nightclubs are usually intense, seemingly enumerable, immensely entertaining, and packed with great looking people, celebrities, and freaks. Miami has the highest concentration of new high density construction in the whole country.

There is a lot to say about what has happened in Miami, and a whole lot more to say about what is and what will be happening. Covering the Miami developmental scene is not as simple as one would imagine Miami, as a real estate market, is unlike any other in the country, on many different levels. We are here to talk about why and hear what you have to say about it.

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