Plans for The Edge hit a snag at Miami River Commission

Renderings of the Edge
Renderings of the Edge

The Miami River Commission demanded that the developer of The Edge, a proposed Brickell high-rise on the bank of the Miami River, conform to the city of Miami’s current zoning code, during its Monday meeting.

Brazilian businessman Leo Macedo wants to build a 53-story, 627-foot-tall, 363,868-square-foot tower on a narrow 3,979-square-foot parcel at 39-55 Southwest Miami Avenue Road. Designed by architect Kobi Karp, the project will include 200 hotel rooms, 70 residential units, and 182 parking spaces.

The project will be larger than The Edge on Brickell, a previous project on that site which was going to stand 606 feet in height and include just 130 residential units and 156 parking spaces. The Edge on Brickell was effectively canceled after Macedo bought the land from Rafael Aragones for $18.3 million last June.

Some Miami River Commission members expressed dismay or skepticism that Macedo can build such a massive tower on such a skinny parcel of land. MRC Chairman Horacio Aguirre said the project, as it’s currently proposed, will only be three-and-a-half car lengths in size. MRC member Gary Winston said it will be as wide as a World War II-era submarine.

“It’s a monster building on a tiny piece of land,” Winston said.

Ben Fernandez, Macedo’s attorney, said the project will be somewhat similar to Trump Tower Chicago, which replaced the old Sun-Times building. “The idea is that [The Edge] is going to be a unique building,” Fernandez said.

To build it, Macedo’s team eliminated planters from the original project and they’re hoping to build two to four parallel parking spaces on top of an adjacent segment of the Miami River Greenway. They’re also decreasing open space from 6,592 square feet to 5,193 square feet.

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Macedo is also asking for 10 waivers from the city’s Miami 21 zoning code. Those waivers included shrinking the view corridor from the city’s required code of 69 feet to 20 feet, shrinking the public Miami Riverwalk from 13 feet 6.4 inches to 13 feet 1.8 inches, reducing parking spaces by 30 percent, and eliminating setbacks.

However, the majority of the MRC, a state board that oversees development along the Miami River, felt that any future project should be built in strict accordance to Miami 21, pointed out Brett Bibeau, MRC’s managing director.

Besides adherence to the Miami 21 zoning code, the MRC demanded that the developer pay $200,000 if part of the Miami River Greenway is eliminated for parking.

MRC member Phil Everingham told The Real Deal he voted “no” because the project was just “way too massive for such a narrow property.”

Fernandez said the details on the project are still being worked out. He also pointed out that the Miami 21 code allows the granting of waivers.

Fernandez said the developer plans to submit plans to the City of Miami’s Urban Development Review Board within the next two months.