The Real Deal Miami

Planning board delays decision on Comras’ proposed retail complex for Fifth Street in Miami Beach

Plans for the 192k sf building include 65k sf of retail on three floors and parking for 218 cars

September 28, 2016 12:00PM
By Francisco Alvarado

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Rendering of BLVD at Lenox and Michael Comras

The Comras Company wants to build a four-story retail complex at Fifth Street and Lenox Avenue.

On Tuesday, Comras representatives pitched the Miami Beach Planning Board on its plans for a 192,265-square-foot building with 64,930 square feet of retail on the first three floors and parking for 218 cars on the roof.

“We would have a nice mix of a cafe-oriented environment with service-oriented retailers,” said Comras President and CEO Michael Comras. “They would be broken up into various spaces averaging about 4,000 square feet.”

The planning board delayed recommending approval for a conditional use permit until November to give the developer time to meet with the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association and address some concerns about the type of retailers the development will have and traffic flows into the new building. Comras also has to go before the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board.

Some planning board members pointed to the nearby Fifth & Alton retail center that is home to Publix, T.J. Maxx, Total Wine & More, Best Buy, and other large retail stores.

“The concern is another big box development,” said planning board chairman Brian D. Elias. Board member Jack Johnson also raised the issue. “Is there any chance at some point in the future we will have a situation where the entire building is taken over by a single tenant?” he said.

Comras explained his company has just begun the leasing process and has not secured any tenants. “We are looking for retailers that work within the community,” he said.

The project, which is called BLVD at Lenox, would rise on the northeast corner of Fifth Street and Lenox Avenue on two parcels Comras already owns and a third property the company has under contract. Two existing buildings that are home to Ivy Nightclub and Carefree Lifestyle car rental store would be torn down.

Suria Yaffar, partner and design director for Zyscovich Architects, which designed the new building, said the main facade would face the entrance to Miami Beach near Alton Road and Fifth Street. “This puts everybody circulating from the garages and the main retail into the street,” she said “You are going to see activation of the street on Lenox.”