The Real Deal Miami

Wynwood developers seek changes to Mana’s project

Among them: reducing the number of taller buildings and funding for streetscape improvments

January 20, 2016 11:15AM
By Francisco Alvarado

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Mana Wynwood and Moishe Mana

Mana Wynwood and Moishe Mana

Updated 6:15 p.m. Friday, Jan 22: Moishe Mana’s plan to redevelop 9 million square feet of land he owns in Wynwood will likely need a few tweaks in order to win support from nearby developers.

At their monthly meeting on Tuesday, members of the Wynwood Business Improvement District, or BID, got a progress report on the ongoing negotiations with Mana’s development team, which is seeking the group’s blessing for its massive tech-and-culture focused mixed-use project.

David Polinsky, a principal in Fortis Development Group who chairs the BID’s planning committee, informed board members that the Mana team, which includes Miami architect Bernard Zyscovich and Greenberg Traurig land use attorney Iris Escarra, is taking their recommendations into consideration. Polinsky said he hoped both sides could reach an accord when the BID planning committee meets on Jan. 26. “There has been a lot of dialogue,” Polinsky said. “We have made progress in some areas.”

Since late November, BID board members, who include Wynwood property owners and developers, have not been very receptive to Mana’s bold proposal to transform 30 acres in Miami’s hottest neighborhood into a hub for tech and international trade companies combined with retail shops, restaurants, bars, an auditorium and 2,500 residential units. As part of Mana’s city of Miami application for a special area plan, Wynwood’s largest landowner is offering to build roughly 168,000 square feet of public open space.

Some Wynwood developers are reluctant to support Mana’s project because he is seeking changes that would allow him to build taller residential towers than are currently allowed, as well as bypassing other new guidelines for 204 acres in Wynwood that went into effect in October.

Polinsky told board members that he and Mana’s team have discussed reducing the number of taller buildings; eliminating plans for Northwest Second Avenue and instead building a public space or retail shops; funding for streetscape improvements on Northwest Fifth Avenue from 23rd Street to 29th Street; and give the Wynwood BID some authority regarding the development of the public open spaces.

Escarra, who attended the meeting, acknowledged that the Mana team is incorporating some of the BID’s requests into a draft development agreement with the city of Miami, which will be reviewed by the group’s planning committee on Jan. 26. Mana hopes to secure support from the BID by Feb. 3, when the special area plan is scheduled to go before the city of Miami planning and zoning appeals board.

“If there is synergy and consistency with the [Wynwood] neighborhood revitalization district, then it is definitely a plan that deserves to be supported,” said Albert Price, a principal of Bazbaz Development. “The more it deviates, then the more likely it would be less supported by us.”

Correction: A previous version of this story referred to zoning variances and to an outdoor market, which the architect says were not part of the plan.