A former gas station on Alton Road in Miami Beach will be redeveloped as a commercial building with Michaels Craft Stores and other restaurant and retail tenants.
The Miami Beach Planning Board on Tuesday issued a conditional use permit to Saber 1800, LLC for the construction of a new four-story commercial building at 1824 Alton Road. The site on the corner of Alton Road and 18th Street was purchased by an affiliate of Saber Real Estate Advisors last year for $7.3 million. A Chevron gas station built in 1963 had occupied the half-acre lot and has since been torn down.
Saber plans to build a Kobi Karp-designed commercial building with a 160-seat restaurant, 11,561 square feet of ground floor retail space, 15,450 square feet of second floor retail space and 130 parking spaces on two upper levels.
The Miami Beach Planning Board unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the project, sending it on to the Design Review Board. The developers have already found a major tenant for the new building, Michaels Craft Stores, which is expected to occupy the entire second floor and a portion of the ground floor as well.
While they approved the project, members of the planning board inserted a provision that calls for future planning board approval for any use of the retail portion of the building that exceeds current traffic projections for the area, or any use of the retail portion of the building greater than 23,000 square feet.
Traffic concerns were a major focus of the approval process. A traffic study commissioned by the developer indicated that “traffic stops” will more than triple at peak hours from what is current at the site. Lawyers presenting the project to the planning board noted that the garage entrance to the building will be on 18th Street and there will be no vehicular access to the building from traffic-clogged Alton Road.
They also said pedestrian access along the sidewalk will be widened from six feet to 16 feet and a landscaped berm will separate pedestrians from traffic. Karp told The Real Deal that a seven-foot landscaped berm between the street and the sidewalk “pulls the building back,” and will enhance the pedestrian experience at the busy corner. “At this location where the gas station currently exists it’s a tight sidewalk, it’s a tight pedestrian experience so we are hoping to make it a bit more friendly, and a bit more comfortable,” he said.
Developers also agreed to carry out a new traffic study 90 days after the building is operational and to place 24-hour security cameras throughout the site with emergency call boxes located in the garage area. Lawyers representing the developers also said that since the site has been occupied for more than 50 years by a gas station, extensive environmental mitigation work will take place, but the developer hopes to begin construction within six months.