The Real Deal Miami

Miami River Commission approves Sushi Samba, Duck & Waffle complex

Project architect made tweaks to designs that put construction in jeopardy months ago
By Francisco Alvarado | January 10, 2017 01:30PM

A rendering of Sushi Samba and the Melo Group’s Carlos, Martin and Jose Melo

Construction of a restaurant complex on the Miami River that will house Sushi Samba and Duck & Waffle will soon resume.

Architect Arturo Griego tweaked the four-story building’s design in order to allow for a wider portion of a public riverwalk, satisfying concerns raised by the Miami River Commission five months ago.

On Monday, the commission’s board of directors unanimously approved the project, which had faced delays since September when the public agency balked at Griego’s original plans for the redevelopment at 20 Southwest North River Drive. The site of the former East Coast Fisheries was purchased by the Melo Group in 2012 for $4.5 million and is located across the street from the development firm’s Flagler on the River apartment building.

At a Sept. 14 hearing, board members objected to Griego’s design because he had reduced the width of the riverwalk portion from 14 feet to 12 feet in order to accommodate an electrical room, an additional landing and an entrance garden. A city planning official also warned Griego that construction would be halted if he did not conform to the 14-foot width requirement.

Fast forward to Monday’s meeting: This time, Griego presented plans to the board showing the electrical room had been moved to a different location on the property and the width of the riverwalk had been widened to 14 feet.

Sushi Samba and Duck & Waffle would join other new restaurants sprouting up along the river. The city recently approved the Riverside Wharf Complex next door, which will house four restaurants. Principals of New York-based KAR Properties want to build a private yacht club with an adjoining restaurant at 131 Northwest South River Drive and investor Harry Greenberg and his partners have plans for a restaurant at the former Anchor Marine site at 961 Northwest Seventh Street. The Miami River Commission delayed a vote on both projects until Jan. 23.