Moishe Mana, BID members in dispute over Wynwood plans

Vote for the 9 million sf development postponed until February

Dec.December 17, 2015 12:00 PM

Moishe Mana and nearby developers remain at odds over what he plans to build on his 30-acre site in Miami’s hottest neighborhood.

The Miami Planning and Zoning Appeals Board postponed a vote on Wednesday on the proposed 9 million-square-foot mixed-use project at the request of Mana and the Wynwood Business Improvement District, which is made up of developers. Both sides told board members they need additional time to hammer out an agreement that would allow Mana to move forward with the BID’s blessing.

Mana is seeking a favorable recommendation from the planning board for a special area plan, which will allow him to build 3,482 residential units, 51,146 square feet of civic space, 168,287 square feet of open space, and 8,483 parking spaces. The remaining square footage would be commercial space aimed at bringing in media and technology companies, as well as arts and cultural institutions.

Mana also wants permission to build up to 16 and 24 stories in some areas of his project, which is more than double what is currently allowed in a new zoning code for Wynwood the city approved earlier this year.

“We believe the scope and magnitude of the [special area plan] requires more discussion between the Wynwood BID and the applicant,” David Polinsky, developer of the 250 Wynwood residential building who chairs the BID’s planning committee, told planning board members.

“We are working on addressing these issues,” added Mana’s attorney Carlos Lago, who noted the deferral would “give both sides time to meet and hash out their differences.”

Although Lago pushed for a continuance until January, the board voted to bring back Mana’s item in February in order to give both sides enough time to address concerns expressed by BID members that the massive project could siphon retail and commercial activity away from other developments in the neighborhood, as well as to obtain variances to zoning regulations they worked on implementing for more than two years.

Following the planning board’s vote to defer until February, Polinsky told The Real Deal the BID wants to ensure that Mana’s project is complementary to other developments in Wynwood.

“They have tried to reassure us that they want to be ‘MANA Wynwood,'” Polinsky said. “At times, it looks like ‘MANA Town’ to us. We want to make sure the outcome is something great and not something destructive.”

In a Dec. 14 letter to Planning Board Chairman Charles Garavaglia, Wynwood BID Executive Director Tom Curitore laid out the group’s problem with Mana’s project. “The proposed MANA Wynwood [special area plan] calls for a broad intensification of development rights,” Curitore wrote. “The Wynwood Business Improvement District has expressed serious concerns about how this proposed [special area plan] would relate to and impact the recently adopted NRD-1 District.”

Curitore added that BID members needed more time to evaluate a copy of a draft development agreement between the city and Mana, which they received at the group’s board meeting the same day the executive director sent his letter to Garavaglia.

Last month, during the BID’s planning committee meeting, some developers questioned Mana’s desire to circumvent the new zoning regulations they helped develop for the neighborhood.

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