New retail project for Washington Avenue gets approval from historic preservation board

Rendering of retail complex at 709, 719 and 729 Washington Avenue and Andrew Joblon
Rendering of retail complex at 709, 719 and 729 Washington Avenue and Andrew Joblon

The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board on Tuesday approved the demolition of a structure at 709 Washington Avenue that will eventually be part of a three-building retail complex.  

The board would have approved a measure allowing demolition of a second structure at 729 Washington Avenue, but could not do so because notification of the hearing for that building was not mailed out in time. Board members said they could see no reason why they would not approve the second measure at their next meeting in November.

Both structures are on either side of 719 Washington Avenue, which will be preserved as part of the three-building complex. All three buildings were purchased in 2015 by an affiliate of Miami Beach investment firm Turnbridge Equities for $6.4 million or about $322 per square foot.

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Turnbridge affiliate Washington Squared LLC, run by Miami Beach developer Andrew Joblon, also purchased 601-685 Washington Avenue, which takes up an entire block of the street for $36 million in 2015. Joblon and New York-based Imperial Companies plan to build a new seven-story hotel that will have 312 units averaging 175 feet, targeting travelers seeking smaller hotel rooms in dense urban environments.

Last year the Miami Beach City Commission approved new ordinances that raised height limits, designed to spur hotel development along Washington Avenue, and other measures designed to increase foot traffic and retail development along the street, which has lagged far behind Ocean Drive or Lincoln Road in terms of retail, restaurant and hotel development.  

Project architect J.J. Wood told the HPB the project approved on Tuesday will “focus on the pedestrian retail experience,” along the fast changing street.