Russell Galbut scraps proposal for 50-story South Beach tower

Miami /
Jul.July 17, 2014 03:00 PM

Developer Russell Galbut is giving up on his plan to build a 50-story condo tower and adjacent three-acre public park at the entrance to South Beach, after Miami Beach’s mayor refused to entertain alternative proposals for a slightly shorter tower, The Real Deal has learned.

Galbut, the managing principal of Crescent Heights, told TRD on Wednesday that he is moving forward “immediately” on an already-entitled project in the 600 block of Alton Road, with 445 rental apartments and 60,000 square feet of commercial space. As for the 500 block, where he proposed co-developing the tallest tower in South Beach with Related Group, Galbut said he is now considering a “more subdued park” and “smaller tower.”

Jorge Perez, Related’s president and CEO, told TRD the proposed 50-story tower with 180 units could fetch prices averaging $1,200 per square foot, with penthouses garnering as much as $2,000 per square foot. The Alton Road site is the largest piece of land available for residential development in South Beach, according to Perez.

“It is one of the few sites left with spectacular waterfront views,” Perez said. Related Group is not interested in co-developing Crescent Heights’ entitled rental project.

Galbut decided to abandon plans for the 50-story tower after Mayor Philip Levine blocked his proposal and declined to consider shorter alternatives. Levine told Galbut the project was incompatible with city zoning regulations, including height restrictions that allow only a seven-story building of up to 75 feet.

Levine questioned Galbut’s motives in pitching a tall tower with a park designed to capture and redirect storm water from the perennially flooded Alton Road. The tower “is proposed under the guise of flood prevention and combating sea level rise,” Levine told Galbut in a June 9 e-mail obtained by TRD. The mayor blasted the project as “blatantly irresponsible development.”

Two Miami Beach committees meet regularly to brainstorm strategies to combat sea level rise, and the city is spending between $300 million and $400 million to install 40 pumps to push overflow water back into the Biscayne Bay.

Levine did not respond to an interview request.

Galbut, who maintains the mayor’s opposition to the 50-story tower is “personal,” insists that he is sincere about wanting to help alleviate flooding.

“It has always been about rising sea level, stormwater containment and living in barrier islands up and down the coasts of America,” he said. “We cannot continue to stick our head in the sand any longer, as we will now drown there.”


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
John Howard Kunkel with 1030 Stillwater Drive (LinkedIn, Google Maps)
50 Eggs restaurateur John Kunkel buys waterfront Miami Beach home
50 Eggs restaurateur John Kunkel buys waterfront Miami Beach home
Red South Beach at 3010 Collins Avenue, Tom Assouline and August “Gussie” Busch (Instagram/gussiebusch, Google Maps, Getty)
Busch family partners with Assouline Capital to buy Red South Beach hotel
Busch family partners with Assouline Capital to buy Red South Beach hotel
Mario Carbone and the Palm Island house (Getty Images, Google Maps)
Major Food Group’s Mario Carbone buys Miami Beach home
Major Food Group’s Mario Carbone buys Miami Beach home
Jade Signature (Google Maps, Getty)
Jade Signature closing tops Miami-Dade’s weekly condo sales
Jade Signature closing tops Miami-Dade’s weekly condo sales
Allied Partners founder Eric Hadar and The Savoy Hotel & Beach Club at 425 Ocean Drive (Google Maps, Getty)
Investor seeks $50M for allegedly botched Ocean Drive hotel repairs
Investor seeks $50M for allegedly botched Ocean Drive hotel repairs
From left: Isaac Toledano, Teddy Sagi, Jorge Pérez and Michael Masanoff with a rendering of Transit Village (Related, LinkedIn, Rendering via Arquitectonica)
Pérez and Sagi’s Transit Village in WPB advances
Pérez and Sagi’s Transit Village in WPB advances
From left: Jorge and Jon Paul Perez, Larry Krueger, Isaac Toledano and Teddy Sagi with 6 Fisher Island Drive (Getty, Google Maps, Wanxiang America, YizhakToledano.org)
Related Group, partners close on $123M Fisher Island site acquisition
Related Group, partners close on $123M Fisher Island site acquisition
Rendering of the project at 1360 Collins Avenue (Getty)
Miami Beach OKs apartment building conversion to boutique hotel
Miami Beach OKs apartment building conversion to boutique hotel
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...