The Real Deal Miami

Miami Commission OKs zoning increase for 14-story Little Havana project

By Erik Bojnansky | December 16, 2008 10:50AM

The Miami City Commission approved a 14-story mixed-use project in Little Havana, but it may not get built for two years.

During their Dec. 11 meeting, commissioners unanimously gave the green
light to La Quinta & La Ocho, a project by developers Abe and David
Podolsky, consisting of 229 rental units and 21,000 square feet of
retail space.

However, work won’t commence immediately due to the poor residential
market. “Nobody is building right now,” said Ben Fernandez, Podolsky’s
land use attorney.

Currently the La Quinto y Ocho apartment buildings and a supermarket
stand on the site, located at SW 5th Avenue and SW 9th Street.
Fernandez says it’s possible that the current tenants and the
supermarket will relocate to the new project.

Podolskys’ Brickell Square LLC, based in Brooklyn, New York, purchased
the eight 7,500-square-foot lots in November 2005 for $32 million,
according to the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser’s Office.

The Podolskys’ application was in essence a request for a zoning
change. Prior to the commission vote the land was zoned multifamily
medium residential, allowing for the construction of 65 units per acre.
The site’s new zoning classification, restricted commercial, enables
the construction of 150 units per acre.

The city’s planning department recommended against the zoning change,
arguing that it “may set a negative precedent and [create] a ‘domino
effect’ in regards to future zoning change applications.” The Planning
Advisory Board also recommended denial by a vote of 6 to 2 in July 2008.