Miami Beach Lays Foundation for Future North Beach Town Center

(Miami Beach, FL) Nov 16, 2018 -

Building upon the approval of Miami Beach voters for an increase in FAR in North Beach, the Mayor & City Commission voted in favor of creating an active town center in the area by establishing a zoning district that allows increased height, while requiring activation of street-fronts and generous pedestrian paths.

“North Beach has a unique character and substantial potential that, for decades, has failed to be capitalized on,” shared Mayor Dan Gelber. “This week’s decision will transform the overlooked area into a vibrant destination for residents by creating a more walkable area that includes lighting, landscaping, streetscaping, and other elements to expand the area over time.”

Laying the groundwork for a future vibrant corridor along 71 Street, the ordinances approved by the City Commission on Wednesday establish a comprehensive plan to revitalize the area. The balanced approach to sparking sustainable development includes an expedited permitting and construction process for developers, affordable housing components, mixed-use co-living and micro units, creates a pedestrian Paseo between 69 and 71 streets, and includes alternative transportation options favoring pedestrians, creates wider sidewalks, an improved streetscape, and more.

Depending on the building’s square footage and location, developers will be able to build from 125 to 220 feet with a requirement to provide public benefits or contribute to the public benefit fund. Allocation of the public benefit fund will be specific to North Beach and would help invigorate the neighborhood and enhance resident quality of life.

In an effort to spur development, the City will waive the public benefits requirement for projects that obtain a building permit within the next 21 months and obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy 30 months after obtaining the building permit.

“North Beach is about to become the most exciting area in Miami-Dade County,” added Commissioner Ricky Arriola. “With this new zoning legislation, we are unleashing the creative forces of the development community. Stay tuned and be amazed.”

In order to protect natural views and allow open air and light between corridors, the City additionally issued a new setback requirement for tower developments along 72 Street that will prevent a continuous concrete wall and potential shading to neighboring properties.

“Every detail of the plan is crucial to seeing the Town Center truly evolve into the unique, new-age neighborhood that we envision for residents and an attractive, memorable destination for our visitors,” expressed Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán.

Rather than limiting the district to traditional types of residential development, the City is following the trend in housing with co-living units and micro-hotels. Due to their small square footage, these types of units can offer affordable housing for future residents that in effect are more likely to spend their free time in communal spaces with their neighbors. To further strengthen this type of social environment, the ordinance requires that a minimum of 20 percent of a building’s gross floor area be utilized for amenities available to residents.

These mixed-use spaces may also serve as offices for small businesses such as WeWork and Büro that create a live-work lifestyle. In these types of environments, private office spaces are limited, while amenities such as conference rooms and work spaces are vast — essentially allowing the amenities that may not be needed by each tenant each day to be utilized by the public.

“After last night’s approval, there is real hope that our neighborhood could become the ‘it’ place we have all been waiting for,” noted North Beach Steering Committee Chair Margueritte Ramos. “I can’t thank our elected officials enough for demanding that now is the time for North Beach to shine.”