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Miami Board Denies Wynwood Station Mixed-Use Project

A mixed-use residential project planned for the east side of the Wynwood Arts District, near Midtown and Edgewater, was denied by the City of Miami’s Urban Development Review Board.

Developer-owner Newcomb Properties #2 LLC plans to build Wynwood Station at 45 NE 27th St.

But the board voted unanimously Nov. 17 to deny the project, after voicing numerous concerns including the massing of the building, location of a trash chute, location of elevators, design of the parking levels and ramps, the width of a covered walkway, the size of a courtyard and more.
Board member Ignacio Permuy said of the project, “It’s a good start but it’s just not there yet.”

Total size of the floor area for Wynwood Station is 331,846 square feet.

The planned eight-story building would be home to 210 dwellings, 11,152 square feet of commercial-retail uses, and parking for up to 283 vehicles in an adjacent screened garage.

The development site is on Northeast 27th Street, south of Northeast 28th Street and east of North Miami Avenue. The contiguous mid-block site is in the northeast quadrant of Wynwood, near the Florida East Coast Railway line.

The applicant is FRC Realty Inc., represented by attorney Steve Wernick.

In a letter to the city, he said the plan is “to redevelop this former industrial yard into a mixed-use multi-family residential project that will activate NE 27th Street and contribute to the ongoing transformation of Wynwood into a 24/7 mixed use walkable neighborhood.”

The project was designed by MSA Architects Inc.

Zoning allows up to five stories by right and eight stories with bonus height. A future land use designation permits a wide range of residential and non-residential uses up to 150 units per acre across the properties, Mr. Wernick said.

“The property is a sprawling industrial yard and currently used as a Sunbelt construction equipment rental and storage facility. The existing conditions impose a hard-edge intent on bufferingthe site from the public realm and pedestrians on the sidewalk. It is a site that is quite reminiscent of Wynwood’s former self as an industrial warehouse district, with few trees or shade from the elements,” he said.

Mr. Wernick wrote, “NE 27th Street is a unique street as the link between Wynwood & Edgewater and thus acts as an eastern gateway into the arts district planned for greater pedestrian orientation in the Wynwood Streetscape Master Plan.

“NE 28th Street in its current condition functions as an oversized industrial alley, with little to no right of way improvements and much narrower than a standard right of way in Wynwood,” he said.

Mr. Wernick said the project gives considerable attention to the public realm in the area, including introducing a cross-block paseo connection that will provide much greater mobility and accessibility.

“With the required right of way dedication contemplated with the project, the project will greatly improve and activate NE 28th Street,” he said.

The property is also steps from the intersection of Northeast 27th Street and the FEC Northeast Corridor, the anticipated location for a future commuter rail station that has not yet been approved.

Mr. Wernick said FRC Realty Inc. is an affiliate of Fifield Holdings. Founded in 1977 by Steven Fifield and headquartered in Chicago, Fifield is a national real estate developer with expertise in land acquisition, structured finance, construction management, architecture and design, and asset management.

Over the past four decades, Fifield has developed more than 13,000 residential units and 8.7 million square feet of commercial projects – in markets from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Mr. Wernick noted that the developer had already presented the plan to the Wynwood Design Review Committee and the plan they were showing the city’s review board “has changed significantly” based on comments from the Wynwood committee.

Review board members questioned why the developer’s team would go before the city board before making a planned return before the Wynwood committee.

And some board members said they preferred the look of the planned building seen in earlier renderings, before the changes.

Board Chair Willy Bermello said, “I don’t think you’ve improved this at all … It’s a big building with no statement as to its entrance.

“I’d also like to see what you did the first time. I’m not impressed with what you currently have,” he said.

Board member Anthony Tzamtzis said, “I have many issues with the building, so many I don’t know where to start from.”

Board member Neil Hall said, “I would have loved to see the first design that you did, and which caused you to rework the entire scheme. The scheme presented here today, I’m not in tune with it. I’m getting no positive vibe. I would have liked for us to have the opportunity to react to the first one.”

Mr. Wernick responded, “We feel a little like a ping-pong ball,” and that scheduling issues complicated matters.

After the board voted to recommend denial, Mr. Bermello said hopefully the board would see the developer back with a refined plan, after again meeting with the Wynwood Design Review Committee and continuing to work with city staff.


Source:  Miami Today

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Multi-Use Redevelopment Of Wynwood Industrial Sites OK’d

A set of interconnected buildings is designed to bring a mix of residential, retail and office uses to a block in Wynwood, along with major murals and other art treatments and a large courtyard.

With a current title of Dorsey, the major mixed-use project is proposed by developer Weck 29th LLC for land at 2562/268/286 NW 29th St. and 2801 NW Third Ave.

The City of Miami’s Urban Development Review Board voted unanimously to recommend approval.

The venture is being touted as “a true live, work, and play environment.”

Designed by architectural firm Arquitectonica, Dorsey is to rise to 12 stories and include a building at eight stories, surrounding a landscaped courtyard for pedestrian mobility and activity.

The entire development will amount to 604,110 square feet, be home to 306 residences, 35,858 square feet of commercial-retail uses, 58,760 square feet of offices, and have parking levels to hold about 521 vehicles.

The site plan shows projected open space amounting to 16,293 square feet.

The property currently consists of industrial structures and surface parking, according to a letter to the city from Iris Escarra, an attorney representing Weck 29th LLC.

The site includes two adjoining properties with different zoning classifications, along with a special Neighborhood Revitalization District, or NRD-1 overlay, and a land designation of general commercial.

Approximately 32,831 square feet or .75-acre is zoned T5-0, and 56,030 square feet or 1.29 acres is in the T6-8-0 zoned area.

Ms. Escarra said the property fronts Northwest 28th Street to the south and Northwest 29th Street to the north, comprising the property’s principal frontages. Northwest Third Avenue abuts the property to the west, and also serves as a principal frontage.

“The proposed project is an infill project adjacent to two highly traversed streets, NW 29th Street and NW 3rd Avenue,” she wrote. “The Property is located within the Wynwood neighborhood, which has seen a rapid growth over the last few years as it transforms from an industrial neighborhood to an arts and culture destination. The Project seeks to redevelop the industrial structures and provide Residential, Office, and Commercial Uses throughout the Property.”

Discussing details of the project with the review board at its December meeting was attorney Brian A. Dombrowski, also representing the developer, who introduced architect Raymond Fort.

The review board’s liaison, city planner Joseph Eisenberg, gave a background report on the project and noted that the NRD-1 gave the body broader review authority.

This project was also reviewed by the Wynwood Development Review Committee, which granted conditional approval Nov. 12, including asking the applicant to reconsider the proposed artwork screening on the northern garage levels, Mr. Eisenberg said.

Mr. Dombrowski said the developer is excited to bring this mixed-use project to a former industrial site in Wynwood with three frontages.

“We have a large courtyard,” he said, “retail uses on the ground floor, and a large pedestrian crosswalk … it fits the work-live-play vision, and there will be a lot of art opportunities.”

Mr. Fort showed site plans and project renderings, noting the design took into account promoting walkability in the neighborhood.

The architecture also uses rectangular cubic forms and alternating colors to help break up the façade, he said.

There’s not much shade in Wynwood, said Mr. Fort, so the site plan calls for bringing some shade trees in with a landscaping plan that includes palms and evergreens.

Board member Ligia Ines Labrada said the presentation was nicely done and she commended the developer’s team for providing access and cross sections with plenty of retail frontages, which she said will create a phenomenal urban experience.

“I have nothing but compliments for the project,” she said.

Board member Robert Behar said, “I also like the project. You’ve done a very nice job with it.”

Board member Ignacio Permuy was also a fan, commending the “exceptional” design.

“Terrific job,” was the assessment of board member Willy Bermello.

“I’ll vote for it. I really like how you resolved every aspect … I like the massing and articulation, particularly on the ground floor … I don’t have any concerns or objections,” said Mr. Bermello.

But board member Neil Hall was critical of the project. By bringing residential into Wynwood in this fashion, he said, “you destroy the brand.” It goes against the years of work to develop this neighborhood as a special area for “creativity and funkiness,” Mr. Hall said.

“The building you created looks more like it’s coming out of New York – I don’t see a Miami theme …,” Mr. Hall said. “The same thing happened in Midtown. We put up 30-story buildings and destroyed the feeling of Midtown.”

Board member Fidel Perez differed from Mr. Hall.

“You did an excellent job breaking up the uses,” Mr. Perez said. “This project is really well designed.”


Source:  Miami Today

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