Miami Beach moves to create short-term rental district in North Beach

North Beach (Photography by Marc Averette)
North Beach (Photography by Marc Averette)

The city of Miami Beach which is generally hostile to the idea of short-term rentals took steps on Tuesday to create a short-term rental district in the city’s aging North Beach neighborhood, home to scores of older MiMo buildings that many say are not economically viable.

The city’s planning board approved an ordinance that will be considered by the city commission on July 13 that will create a short-term rental district along Harding Avenue from 87th Street south to 73rd Street.   

The district is zoned RM-1, which currently prohibits rentals for periods of less than six months and one day with few exceptions on Miami Beach. But backers of the measure say an average of 30,000 vehicles travel south on Harding Avenue every day and it’s virtually impossible to rent out apartments with multi-year leases on the street.  

The ordinance would allow short-term rentals for seven-day periods in buildings that front Harding Avenue. Daniel Veitia, a local real estate broker who serves on the advisory North Beach steering committee told the board that the proposed ordinance “is a great way to incentivize the restoration of MiMo buildings.”   

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Of the 75 properties that line Harding Avenue, 37 have been designated as “contributing” or historic. Much of the area lies within a National Historic District but the buildings are not protected from demolition. Owners of many of the buildings have complained for years that rental income they get from the buildings is not sufficient to cover the high costs of maintenance for the older buildings — especially increasing insurance premiums related to the costs of sea-level rise. Matis Cohen, a major property owner in the area, told the planning board the proposed ordinance among other things “is designed to preserve historic buildings.”  

While North Beach has lagged in terms of development when compared with South Beach and Mid-Beach areas of the city, several major projects are planned for the area. The city commission recently approved developer Sandor Scher’s plans to develop Ocean Terrace, and earlier this month the city’s design review board approved plans for a new four-story hotel that will be built on four parcels at 8011-8035 Harding Avenue that incorporates part of a 1937 hotel into its design.  

Also on Tuesday the city’s planning board recommended approval of another ordinance to be considered by the city commission that would raise height limits from 75 feet to 125 feet along 71st Street and parts of 72nd Street in what will eventually become a North Beach Town Center district. Developer Silvia Coltrane says she plans to build a 10-story, 175-room hotel with extensive ground floor retail that will include 150 parking spaces on 72nd Street – a project that many say could spur further development in the area.