“Of grave concern”: Neighboring condo owners oppose Aimco’s Edgewater project

Associations for two nearby residential buildings want to overturn city approval of setback, driveway width waivers for new 60-story tower

Aimco’s Wes Powell with Edgewater (Aimco)
Aimco’s Wes Powell with Edgewater (Aimco)

Just as Aimco’s apartment project in Edgewater makes headway, opposition from a pair of neighboring condominiums could throw a wrench in plans.

The Bay Park Towers and Charter Club condo associations are asking Miami to rescind
its approval of eight waivers granted to the project that allow deviations from development code requirements related to setbacks and off-street parking.

Denver-based Aimco wants to build the 60-story tower with 241 units and roughly 5,000 square feet of commercial space on just over an acre the firm owns at 560, 600, 610, 620, 630 and 640 Northeast 34th Street. The site is immediately south of Aimco’s Hamilton on the Bay apartment building at 555 Northeast 34th Street.

In October, Miami Zoning Administrator Daniel Goldberg signed off on the waivers. They include allowing the project to have an 18-foot setback above the eighth floor on one side of the building, where 20 feet usually is required; and a 27-foot setback on another side of the building and also above the eighth floor, where 30 feet is the norm, city records show. In other allowances, Goldberg approved car entrance spacing at 33 feet, instead of the required 60 feet; and a 30 percent reduction in off-street parking spaces.

But the Charter Club condo association, at 600 Northeast 36th Street north of the development site, argues the waivers pave the way for Aimco to max out its project size.

“This project will have a profoundly negative impact on existing residential condominiums, as well as future developments in the area,” W. Tucker Gibbs, an attorney for Charter Club, wrote in a letter to the city.

Bay Park Towers at 3301 Northeast Fifth Avenue takes a similar stance.

Bay Park’s association took particular issue with Aimco’s inclusion of the Hamilton on the Bay lot into the development site. Although the 28-story building isn’t part of the project and will remain intact, its lot is calculated as part of the buildable site’s size, city records show.

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“This approach is of grave concern to the association and residents of the Bay Park community who … will bear the brunt of the intense project,” Paul Savage, an attorney for that condo association, wrote in a letter to the city.

Combining both parcels allows Aimco to funnel buildable rights and density restricted to the Hamilton property into the actual development site to the south, Savage said.

Charter Club and Bay Park are appealing Goldberg’s approval of the waivers to the Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board. The board was set to take up the appeals on Wednesday, though this is expected to be deferred to the March 1 meeting, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Representatives for Aimco and Charter Club have been in discussions for a compromise, Gibbs said. Savage didn’t return a request for comment, and Aimco’s attorneys declined comment.

This isn’t the first hiccup for Aimco’s Edgewater project. In June, the Miami Urban Development Review Board voted against the project, with one board member citing “major issues” with the design.

Since then, Aimco revised plans, and the city deemed the tweaks consistent with UDBR’s recommendations, according to Goldberg’s letter.

Denver-based Aimco is a real estate investment trust headed by Wes Powell. In 2020, it paid $90 million for the Hamilton on the Bay apartment building and several surrounding lots, including some that are now part of the development site.

Aimco also plans a mixed-use project in Fort Lauderale’s Flagler Village on a 9-acre assemblage that it purchased last year in three deals for a combined $100 million.  The properties allow for up to 1,500 units, more than 300 hotel keys, and over 100,000 square feet of retail for a combined 3 million square feet, Aimco’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show.