Miami Beach puts the brakes on mixed-use project for Sunset Harbour

City commission defers consideration of luxury mixed-use project for 60 days

Mar.March 10, 2016 09:45 AM

The Miami Beach City Commission on Wednesday put a hold on an ordinance that would raise height limits from 50 feet to 90 feet for a mixed-use project that Deco Capital Group, LLC has proposed for 1733-1769 Purdy Avenue.  

The commission voted to defer the measure until its May 11 meeting to give time for the developer and those opposed to the project to try and reach agreement on height limits and setbacks for the project. Commissioner Ricky Arriola, who called for the deferment, said as a resident of Sunset Harbour he liked the project, but “there’s not a consensus yet, and lots of unhappy parties.” The commission must approve sending the measure to the city’s planning board for consideration before it can eventually vote on it.   

In February, the city’s Land Use Committee signed off on a request from Deco Capital to build 15 luxury condos on top of premium retail at the site. The planned building will front Purdy Avenue and overlook Maurice Gibb Park. New York-based RWN Real Estate Partners, which has already purchased property in Surfside, is a majority partner in the venture.  

But opposition to the project has grown since then and over the past week fliers opposing the project have been distributed across Miami Beach warning of overdevelopment and calling on commissioners not to raise height limits.  

Bradley Colmer, founder of Deco Capital, called the fliers “disinformation,” and accused former commissioner Jonah Wolfson who is representing residents of an adjacent property, the Lofts at South Beach condominium, of being behind the effort to defeat the ordinance. Colmer said some residents of the Lofts had asked for financial compensation of more than $1 million in exchange for dropping their opposition to the project.  He called the project “the best ground floor environment for the neighborhood.”

Jonah Wolfson told The Real Deal he had no involvement with the fliers and he defended his actions on behalf of his clients at the Lofts condo. “Nobody is against development in Sunset Harbor. These guys are trying to change the law to almost double the height that they can build at and my client is right next door to them, they are just trying to protect their quality of life.”

Two towing companies located along Purdy Avenue are also opposed to the measure saying increased traffic as a result of the project could disrupt their operations. Rafael Andrade, a lawyer representing Beach Towing, told the commission that there is also a deed restriction that prohibits parking at the site – something Deco Capital disputes.

Not voting on Wednesday was Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who voluntarily recused himself from considering the measure because he owns an adjacent property. In February, the Florida Commission on Ethics said the mayor would have no conflict of interest in voting on the proposed height increase saying it would be “speculative” as to whether he would benefit or not from a height-limit increase next door to his property.  

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