Another Wynwood Business Improvement District meeting to discuss “11th hour” changes to a negotiated agreement with Moishe Mana in connection with his grand plans for a massive arts-focused commercial district in the neighborhood ended the same way as a discussion last week: In a stalemate.
“We’ve worked very hard to address every issue,” Mana’s attorney Iris Escarra told The Real Deal following the meeting. “I’m positive we will resolve them all.”
After months of negotiations, Mana and the Business Improvement District, or BID, had reached an accord that resulted in a resolution this past March 2 stating the group supports Mana Wynwood, which encompasses 51,146 square feet of civic space, 3,487 residential units, 8,483 parking spaces, and a 2.5-acre privately owned park dubbed “Mana Commons.”
However, at the BID’s meeting last week, board member David Polinsky suggested he and his colleagues withdraw the supporting resolution if the Mana team does not hold up its end of the bargain.
Wednesday afternoon, neither side made much progress in resolving their differences. Escarra and the Mana team told the BID they are still moving forward with presenting the project’s Special Area Plan in front of the city commission next week for second reading. Both sides did agree to convene again at the BID’s meeting Sept. 7.
“There are some significant modifications that we can’t ignore,” Polinsky said. “We thought we were there March 2. But there have been some non-trivial deviations since then.”
The impasse is the result of two major changes, Polinsky contends. First, Mana has shaved off $7.5 million from a $10 million contribution the developer promised to make to Wynwood’s public benefits program. And secondly, Mana is now seeking looser development restrictions that would allow for the more commercial trade-oriented part of the development on the western side of Wynwood to be built ahead of the more culture-centric buildings in the eastern half, Polinsky said.
Escarra explained Mana is simply following the wishes of Miami City Commissioner Keon Hardemon when it comes to the money. Hardemon wants some of the funds to go to Overtown, which borders the Mana project on the south. She noted he made the request at the June 23rd city commission meeting when the special area plan was approved on first reading.
She also disputed Polinsky’s assertion that the western half of the project could be built first. “There are no proposed changes and Mana Wynwood is moving forward with the phasing in the agreement,” she said.
“What you’re trying to do is phase jump to allow a 24-story building before building any of the effective value-add components of the project,” Joe Furst, managing director of Goldman Properties and chairman of the BID, said last week.
Escarra noted that Wynwood is also receiving $35 million in infrastructure improvements and new public spaces.