The developers of the Surf Club Four Seasons have big plans for a prime slice of city-owned waterfront property in Miami Beach, but neighborhood residents and city commissioners are skeptical about the proposal to add more residential towers south of Fifth Street.
To help the project to move forward, Fort Partners and the operator of the Miami Beach Marina complex are dangling a $100 million offer in exchange for the development rights at the site located on Third Street and Alton, which is currently anchored by a Monty’s Raw Bar. Fort representatives made their first pitch at yesterday’s Miami Beach Land Use & Committee meeting.
“I don’t think I can support the project as currently proposed,” Joy Malakoff, committee chair and city commissioner, said. “Mostly for the lack of community analysis. More evaluation has to be made by staff.”
Via a referendum, city voters would have to approve the terms of the ground lease, sale of the city’s “air rights” to give the developer the ability to develop above the marina, and an increase in the maximum floor area ratio (FAR) for the development, which is the formula for calculating allowable square footage.
This would allow Fort and the current lease holders, the Christoph family, to build a pair of 400-foot residential towers, about 3,000 square feet of commercial space for retail and restaurants, 700 underground parking spaces, and a 1-acre public park. Miami Beach would remain the property owner, but would negotiate a new lease with the Christophs and RCI group, which operates the marina.
Fort representatives were hoping the land use committee would allow their request to move forward to the city’s planning and zoning board. “Fort Partners believes it is a win, win for everyone,” said Jeffrey Bercow, the developer’s attorney.
Jay Khoriaty, a Fort Partners principal, said the company wants to build a project that contributes to the community by providing uses and amenities that can be used by the public. “We see this as an opportunity to create a sense of arrival” near Fifth Street, Khoriaty said.
However, the committee voted to table discussion on the proposed amendments until its June meeting to give the developer time to meet with neighborhood residents and win their support.
“Until you sit down and work it out with the neighborhood, I am not going to entertain it,” said City Commissioner Ricky Arriola, who also sits on the committee. “Once it is fully hashed out, I might support a referendum.”