It’s hip to be square: Melo breaks ground on Square Station apartments in Miami

Developer hopes to fill 710 units with millennials who aren't ready to buy a home

Oct.October 10, 2016 03:20 PM
Rendering of Square Station and Carlos Melo, Jose Melo and Martin Melo

Rendering of Square Station and Carlos Melo, Jose Melo and Martin Melo

UPDATED Oct. 14 11:33 a.m.: With its new Melody Tower rental building finished and fully leased, the Melo Group has begun construction on Square Station, the developer’s second apartment project in Miami’s Arts & Entertainment District.

Melo announced Monday that construction crews had begun pouring foundation pilings for Square Station’s twin 34-story towers at 1424 Northeast Miami Place, a roughly 1.37-acre development site. The developer also secured a $103.13 million construction loan from Branch Banking & Trust Co, according to county records.

When completed, the project is slated to have 710 rental units, 15,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 946 parking spaces. Melo expects to finish the project in 2018.

Much like Melo did with the 497-unit Melody Tower, which opened its doors just three blocks away in May, the developer is hoping to attract millennials who aren’t ready to buy a first home. Prices for the towers’ one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will range from $1,650 to $2,500 per month.

“Our concept has always been to build for the local market, which is a sustainable model during up and down cycles,” Carlos Melo said in the news release.

Melo received city commission approval for Square Station in August, despite recommendations from city staff and the Planning and Zoning Appeals Board to deny the developer’s request for a zoning change. Melo’s promise to set aside 96 of the project’s apartments as workforce housing ultimately swayed the commissioners.

Square Station’s groundbreaking comes as Miami-Dade’s apartment pipeline balloons, causing some market watchers to worry that the county’s otherwise steady growth in average rents could begin to wane.

However, a recent report from brokerage Marcus & Millichap contends that the high cost of home ownership could keep rental demand high enough to chew threw the looming supply. —Sean Stewart-Muniz

Story was updated to include information on the Melo Group’s construction financing.

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