The Real Deal Miami

New parking and towing structure planned for Sunset Harbour in Miami Beach

New building is designed to hide towing operations in rapidly gentrifying neighborhood

July 05, 2016 06:00PM
By James Teeple

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Rendering of Tremont Towing

The Miami Beach Design Review Board on Tuesday granted a three-foot height variance for the construction of a new four-story mixed-use building that will contain retail and office space at 1747 Bay Road, longtime home of Tremont Towing, one of two towing companies licensed to operate in Miami Beach.  

The applicant, 1747 Bay Road Properties, is controlled by developer Russell Galbut who told the board that while towing companies operating on Miami Beach are a “necessary evil,” the idea behind the new building he wants to build will “allow for the towing to be completely hidden within a building.”  

The new building designed by Urban Robot Associates has 1,631 square feet of retail space, 11,734 square feet of office space, and an additional 560 square feet of office space for a Tremont office. About 50,000 square feet of garage space will include a valet-operated parking garage that will hold 165 spaces, enough to hold all of Tremont’s tow trucks. Galbut told the board the new building would be big enough to hold both Tremont Towing and adjacent Beach Towing, the other towing company operating on Miami Beach.   

A staff report calls the design of the new building “noteworthy.” Galbut told the city’s planning board last month that the building was designed around an existing radio tower on the site, and was built to hide as much of the tower as possible.   

The new building is strongly supported by residential associations in the neighborhood, which have long complained about noisy tow trucks blocking streets and operating late at night. The Sunset Harbour area has quickly gentrified in recent years from an industrial zone into a high-end restaurant destination with condominium units selling in the seven figures.   

Last month, developers behind Deco Capital Group withdrew their request for a 40-foot height variance in the neighborhood at 1733-1769 Purdy Avenue after they were unable to reach agreement with Beach Towing and neighbors of the adjacent loft condominiums. The focus of the dispute was compensation that Beach Towing was demanding, reportedly in the millions of dollars, to rescind a deed restriction that prevented parking on property previously by the towing company that had been sold years earlier, but which Deco Capital Group had acquired in order to build a luxury mixed-use project.