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Fashion powerhouse Naeem Khan tweaks design of future Miami River HQ

Plan includes corporate headquarters, a manufacturing facility and a fashion school
By Francisco Alvarado | March 06, 2017 05:45PM

Rendering of building and Naeem Khan

Three years after announcing he would leave the Big Apple for the Magic City, fashion magnate Naeem Khan unveiled an updated design for his couture house on the Miami River.

During its regular monthly meeting Monday afternoon, the Miami River Commission approved modifications to Khan’s project, which will entail two buildings that will house his corporate headquarters, a manufacturing facility and a fashion school on waterfront land the fashion designer is leasing from Miami-Dade County.

“The whole idea behind building a fashion house is to build a whole new industry [to Miami,]” Khan told the 18-member board. “We want to bring high-end jobs that pay over $50,000. The couture I make is a dying art. We want to train as many people as we can.”

The Miami River Commission originally approved Khan’s preliminary plans in 2015, a requirement for a $1.5 million grant his company received from Miami-Dade to build a public riverwalk and new seawall on the property located at 1175 Northwest South River Drive. Khan inked a 90-year lease deal with the county in 2014 that works out to about $65,000 a year.

Under Khan’s original design, the two buildings were connected and the riverwalk was not included. The updated plans show the buildings are no longer connected and are separated by a tree-lined path that will be used as a runway for fashion shows at the site, said project architect Alfonso Jurado, a vice-president of Arquitectonica.

“From a design perspective, there are substantial changes to the skin of the project,” Jurado said. “We are now looking at a skin that is precast.”

Jurado said the project team is also working on an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation to extend the property’s portion of the riverwalk to the bridge on Northwest 12th Avenue. Khan is also entering negotiations with Miami’s fire department to lease city property under the bridge currently used to store discarded vehicles and equipment, said his lobbyist Rosario Kennedy. “It has been an eyesore to everyone,” Kennedy said. “We will use it for offsite parking.”

In addition, the site will have a dock where cargo ships will bring in fabrics and other clothes making materials, as well as export clothes made at his manufacturing facility, Khan said.

“The dock will be used to bring products in and out, as well as clients,” he added. “It is going to be beautiful.”

Khan, who has dressed Beyoncé and Michelle Obama, makes a consumer line of high-end fashion ball and bridal gowns sold at luxury department stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. His company has about 120 employees in New York.