Miami commission gives go-ahead to Mana’s big plan for Wynwood

Rendering of the Mana Commons and Moishe Mana
Rendering of the Mana Commons and Moishe Mana

After yet another day of heated debate, the Special Area Plan that would allow greatly increased density for Moishe Mana’s sprawling development plans in Wynwood scored approval from city commissioners.

Tensions were sparked again during Wednesday’s commission meeting after a previously agreed-to resolution between the Wynwood Business Improvement District and Mana’s development team fell apart, according to the Miami Herald, with commissioners having to mediate a new solution.

The BID and Mana agreed earlier in the week to split the developer’s 25-acre project into two phases, with Mana’s lucrative western half and its 24-story commercial towers going to a vote first, while the culture-rich eastern half would be delayed for further review.

Like earlier agreements, those plans fell apart at the 11th hour.

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Commissioner Ken Russell’s idea proved to be the winning one: Mana’s camp agreed to foot the bill for burying electrical lines that cross his holdings, which could cost up $25 million. Should the work not be completed in five years, the Herald reported, Mana would the be on the hook to pay $7.2 million into a Wynwood public benefits fund.

The patchwork agreement came after weeks of contentious meetings over $10 million that Mana originally promised would be paid into the Wynwood fund in exchange for the BID’s support of his requested increased density. Behind closed doors, commissioner Keon Hardemon lobbied Mana’s team to instead split $7.5 million of that funding and send it to Overtown.

Mana’s team refused to replace the shifted funds, stating the developer’s plans still retained a host of public improvements for Wynwood.

The Special Area Plan’s approval also means Mana will be held to the original phasing agreement, according to the Herald, where his lucrative trade-oritned towers along Northwest Fifth Avenue can only be built after receiving building permits for a large portion of the culture- and education-centric eastern half on Northwest Second Avenue, which includes the Mana Commons.

All-told, Mana’s plan carries entitlements to 10 million square feet of development for his Wynwood holdings. [Miami Herald]Sean Stewart-Muniz