The Real Deal Miami

Publix proposes second new South Florida condo tower

Grocery chain wants site plan approval for Sunny Isles Beach high-rise

July 08, 2014 12:00PM
By Peter Zalewski

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Publix entrance in Sunny Isles Beach (inset: Peter Zalewski)

Publix entrance in Sunny Isles Beach (inset: Peter Zalewski)

South Florida’s preconstruction condo market – with more than 250 new towers and nearly 34,200 units announced – is so hot right now that even one of the region’s most recognizable grocery store chains wants to cash in on the latest boom by developing high-rise residential towers.

For the second time in about a month, Publix Super Markets unveiled plans to replace an existing South Florida grocery store location with a new state-of-the-art, mixed-use center that includes a condo tower.

Following up on plans unveiled in June to build an 18-story condo tower with 282 units behind a proposed grocery store in Coral Gables, Publix submitted an application seeking “site-plan approval” from the City of Sunny Isles Beach to build a new mixed-used project that includes a 26-story condo tower with 357 units on the waterfront site of the chain’s existing 32-year-old store, according to a public notice published on Sunday in the Miami Herald.

The Lakeland-based chain filed plans to build a shopping center with nearly 54,000 square feet of retail space and a residential tower with more than 501,000 square feet on a nearly 3.6-acre site on the west side of the 18300 block of Collins Avenue. The Sunny Isles Beach City Commission is scheduled to hear the Publix application on July 17.

Under the proposal, Publix would develop the ground-floor retail center as a first phase and the condo tower as a second phase within 36 months after the retail portion is finished.

To develop the condo tower within the proposed parameters, Publix is seeking approval to purchase Transfer Development Rights – or condo development credits – for 73 units and nearly 154,300 square feet from the city’s “TDR bank account,” according to the application.

Plans for the Publix condo tower come at a time when 14 new condo towers with more than 1,800 units are already announced for Sunny Isles, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com.

(For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.)

The number of new condo towers announced for Sunny Isles during this current South Florida preconstruction boom could grow even higher.

On June 16, an existing two-building condominium complex called the Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort Condominium Association was terminated, clearing the way for a new residential development to be built on the site at 17901 Collins Avenue, as previously reported by The Real Deal.

Additionally, Publix’s proposed mixed-use site is located immediately south of a vacant 3.1-acre waterfront site controlled by Dezer Properties LLC, which is related to the entity currently developing the 56-story Porsche Design Tower fronting the Atlantic Ocean in the 18500 block of Collins Avenue, according to Miami-Dade County records.

Overall, one project has been completed and six more towers are under construction in Sunny Isles. An additional three towers are planned with clearance to build and five towers – including the proposed Publix condo tower- are seeking approval to build in this market where nearly 2,200 units have now been announced.

With the addition of the proposed Publix condo tower, the Sunny Isles market now has the third-largest number of new units announced of any market east of I-95 in the tri-county South Florida region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

The unanswered question going forward is whether Publix will build the newly announced condo towers itself or join forces with veteran residential developers to complete the pair of proposed high-rises slated to be constructed.

Peter Zalewski is real estate columnist for The Real Deal who founded Condo Vultures LLC, a consultancy and publishing company, as well as Condo Vultures Realty LLC and CVR Realty brokerages and the Condo Ratings Agency, an analytics firm. The Condo Ratings Agency operates CraneSpotters.com, a preconstruction condo projects website, in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.

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