West Dixie Highway in North Miami has long been viewed as a run-down part of the city. But now there is movement afoot to redevelop some of the apartments and low-scale commercial buildings in the area, most of which were built in the first couple of decades after World War II.
An investor and developer group signed a “memo of understanding” with the city at the end of January to enter into a joint development agreement to develop several parcels of land in the vicinity of 131st Street and West Dixie Highway.
The developer, BSD 18, LLC, which records show is led by Eli Ran, owns some of the land, and has proposed to construct a six to 10-story mixed-use project on the property with 16,000 to 20,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and a parking garage, documents show. The joint development agreement will be signed once the design process is completed and a site plan is approved.
The city, which also owns property in the vicinity of the project, is willing to consider consolidating its land with the developer’s, according to the memo. “The [development] could be the spark and/or key to revitalizing the West Dixie Highway corridor,” according to the document.
Although the proposed development is in the very early stages, the memo says that upon approval of a development plan by the city council, city officials are willing to do whatever is “necessary and proper” to help the project become reality. As an example of its commitment, it has agreed not to sell its land to a third party, while the memo of understanding is in effect.
The proposed joint development agreement is not the first sign that the city of North Miami is interested in urban renewal. In fact, it is currently working on updating the city’s land development regulations and zoning map that will, in all likelihood, be more conducive to urban, rather than suburban development.
Other city documents also point to a trend toward towards greater urbanization. North Miami’s 2013 Downtown Development and Major Corridor Master Plan specifically mentions major corridors in the city that, while ripe for redevelopment, have limitations imposed by current zoning rules. Included among these corridors is the one described as West Dixie Highway from Griffing Boulevard to 143rd Street.
Even in advance of new land development regulations and a zoning map, developments are in the works that will be urban-oriented. A plan for Causeway Village, a 529,860-square-foot mixed-use development slated for a 4.13-acre site in North Miami, was unveiled at a city planning commission meeting in November. The development, which will cost over $68 million, will be a nine-story complex with 297 luxury apartments designed to attract mostly younger, working professionals.
At the time of the November meeting, Tanya Wilson-Sejour, planning, zoning and development director for North Miami, told The Real Deal that “the developers [of Causeway Village] want to build a pedestrian-oriented and transit-friendly complex to create a live-work environment in which residents will have all the amenities, including retail and recreation, onsite.” This kind of development is what the comprehensive plan calls for, she said.
North Miami is built-out, with only 1 percent vacant land remaining and a growing population, Wilson-Sejour told TRD. “If the city is to remain solvent and continue growing, you have to support residential, mixed-use developments that maximize the limited land that is available,” she said.