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Allapattah’s ‘Authentic Bario’ Feel Makes Way For Increased Development

When she came from Boston in the late 90s to study at the University of Miami, Mileyka Burgos-Flores quickly got homesick. She missed the food and flavor of her Dominican family and she was desperate for a Dominican hair salon. The cafeteria workers she’d befriended at school had the answer: we’ll take you to el barrio, they told her.

That’s how Burgos-Flores, executive director of the Allapattah Collaborative, got to know the neighborhood built up by Black Miamians and immigrants from the Caribbean and Central America. She soon picked up on Allapattah’s distinctive features. The breezy porches where neighbors actually talked to each other across the fence. The cosmopolitan bodegas and the street vendors residents knew by name. And of course, local watering holes like Club Típico Domínicano, the 1980s restaurant that shimmies into a nightclub with live music on the weekends.

“It’s a very warm and welcoming neighborhood,” said Burgos-Flores, whose work entails preserving the neighborhood and helping its small businesses thrive. “People don’t just go into local businesses to get their hair done, or to eat or to do their taxes. They go to hang out; they know each other and they keep an eye out for each other.”

That kind of pride among local residents is what drew art collector Mera Rubell to the area in 2019. Along with her husband Don and son Jason, the family converted a warehouse complex that previously housed a wholesaler of rice, beans and other food items into the Rubell Museum, previously located in Wynwood. The site sits cradled by the metroline and railroad tracks.

“This was a new frontier,” Rubell said. “Our dream was to create a kind of concentrated destination for culture. What’s nice is we’re not displacing anybody. These were old buildings that can no longer accommodate the heavy warehouse use it needs.”

The museum is just one of a collection of art spaces in the area, which runs from State Road 112 south to the Miami River and west from Interstate 95 to Northwest 27th Avenue. Jorge Pérez’s El Espacio 23 has also called industrial Allapattah home for the last two years. The newest addition to the art scene, Superblue, across the street from the Rubell, turned a warehouse into an immersive art space in May. The private museums are neighbors with a massive wholesale grocer; across the street, an open-air fruit market sells tropical fruit juices, coconut water and varieties of mangoes and bananas that swing from an awning.

Other recent additions have drawn people to the neighborhood through their bellies. Even on a weekday at lunch it can be hard to snag a parking spot at Hometown Barbecue, a New York transplant whose Brooklyn location is considered one of the country’s best barbecue spots.

It’s all quickly snowballing to turn Allapattah into Miami’s newest “it” spot. Burgos-Flores’ friends in the neighborhood share sightings of limousines ferrying partygoers to underground nightlife in the area. The charm that caught her eye two decades ago is still present; Allapattah remains a place where the word “authentic” still rings true. But there’s no denying things are changing.

New rentals are popping up and just as quickly evaporating due to demand from those who want to be close to the Miami Health District.

The latest is 14-story No. 17 Residences, on Northwest 17th Avenue. Renters — primarily medical and graduate students and health district employees quickly snapped up apartments, according to Lisette Calderon, CEO of developer Neology Life Development Group. Apartments start at $1,300 per month for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom layout.

“What I see that is exciting is the neighborhood being reimagined,” Calderon said.

Housing-wise, four other projects are in the pipeline.

The highest profile project on the books is a collection of eight buildings — many rising on stilts — designed by Danish star architect Bjarke Ingles for developer Robert Wennett. The project, at Northwest 12th Avenue, called Miami Produce Centerwill include residential units, hotel, office, retail space and a trade school on nine acres formerly home to a produce market. Permits have not yet been drawn, and the timetable is not yet set, said Javier Aviñó, Wennett’s representative for the project and Bilzin Sumberg partner.

Already underway is a senior affordable housing community at 1396 NW 36th St. The 13-story Mosaico should open by January 2022, said Jake Morrow, a principal at developer Interurban.

Along with No. 17 Residences, Neology is planning another 14-story rental nearby at 1625 NW 20th St., dubbed Allapattah 16.

Also in permitting is a third 14-story rental building, Allapattah 14, at 1470 NW 36th St.

For Burgos-Flores, whose work entails helping local mom and pops thrive, taking the foot off the accelerator just a bit seems wise.

“We love all this development that could potentially happen in the area, but we want it to be inclusive and equitable,” she said.

Small businesses she helps in the neighborhood are frequently priced out by rising rents, she said. The average resident is unlikely to be able to afford the luxury units coming up in the area. The median household income in the 33127 zip code is $34,510, according to the county demographic data from this year. Around 31% of the residents live below the poverty line. Displacing a community of people – many of whom first arrived via displacement after refugee crises in their home countries – would shred the neighborhood’s identity, Burgos-Flores said.

“People who live here want to stay,” she said. “And if they go, they want to go because they want to, not because they’re pushed out. They want to have the opportunity to stay and the opportunity to own here.”

 

Source:  Miami Herald

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Lissette Calderon Delivers First Multifamily Project In Allapattah

Developer Lissette Calderon has completed the first of her three apartment projects in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood.

Nearly two and a half years after buying the land, Calderon’s Neology Life Development Group received a temporary certificate of occupancy for the 192-unit No. 17 Residences, a 13-story building at 1569 Northwest 17th Avenue.

Calderon said it’s “the perfect time” to build in Allapattah, which she said is Miami’s “last authentic urban core neighborhood.” The area has attracted major real estate players, including the Related Group’s Jorge Pérez and 1111 Lincoln Road developer Robert Wennett.

Pre-leasing, including virtual tours, launched earlier this year. Calderon said monthly rents start at about $1,200 for a studio apartment. The building offers “attainable luxury” that was lacking in Allapattah, she added. Studios start at 740 square feet, and one-bedroom apartments start at 600 square feet. Units go up to 1,125 square feet for a three-bedroom, according to the development’s website.

The building is west of the Miami Health District and northeast of her Pier 19 Residences & Marina apartment building on the Miami River. It’s south of the Rubell Museum and the popular Hometown Barbecue restaurant.

Amenities include an 8,000-square-foot park for residents, which was added during the pandemic due to increased demand for outdoor space, a pool deck with cabanas, rooftop garden, fitness center, co-working spaces, and package rooms.

Calderon said she plans to break ground on her next two projects, 16 Allapattah and 14 Allapattah, this summer, and deliver those buildings about 16 months from groundbreaking. 16 Allapattah is planned as a 323-unit rental building with 9,000 square feet of office space and ground-floor retail, and 14 Allapattah, a two-tower project on an Opportunity Zone site, is expected to have 237 apartments and ground-floor retail.

Wennett, who tapped Bjarke Ingels to design his major mixed-use development nearby, secured approval from the Miami City Commission about two years ago for his Miami Produce Center special area plan. The planned 1.4 million-square-foot development could have as many as 2,400 co-living units and 637 traditional residential units, nearly 231,000 square feet of office space, 129,000 square feet of retail space, about 22,000 square feet for “educational uses,” as well as more than 1,000 parking spaces.

Calderon said she has been welcomed by the community in Allapattah, and that she is not displacing residents.

“I go into neighborhoods where I’m wanted,” she said, noting that her firm purchased existing warehouses and shuttered buildings.

 

 

Source:  The Real Deal

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