Verzasca files plans for former City Hall restaurant site at 2000 Biscayne

Edgewater project calls for a 36-story apartment tower with an eight-story parking garage

A year after buying the City Hall restaurant building on Biscayne Boulevard, the Verzasca Group just filed plans to develop the property into a rental tower, The Real Deal has learned.

Verzasca closed on the $13 million purchase of the 32,775-square-foot site at 2000 Biscayne Boulevard in March 2016, but has remained quiet on its plans. The Edgewater project calls for a 36-story, 393-unit apartment tower with 25 studios, 175 one-bedrooms, 181 two-bedrooms, 12 three-bedrooms and an eight-story parking garage. Fort Lauderdale-based Dorsky Yue International LLC is the architect.

Verzasca Managing Director Tim Lobanov said in a statement to TRD that the developers are “big long-term believers in the neighborhood” of Edgewater. The company declined to comment further.

An application filed with the city of Miami’s Planning and Zoning Department shows the developer is requesting waivers related to setbacks and parking, in addition to lot coverage and floor plate increases and a decrease in the required parking by 30 percent to 455 parking spaces from the required 649 spaces.

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Part of Verzasca’s deal to purchase the land last year included an agreement to give the seller an unspecified number of condos in the building. It’s unclear if that agreement still stands. In addition to City Hall restaurant, the building housed smaller commercial tenants like CitiMED. The $13 million sale broke down to about $400 per square foot.

2000 Biscayne would mark the first rental project for Verzasca, which has focused on boutique condo projects in Bay Harbor Islands and Sunny Isles Beach since launching in recent years. It will break ground on Aurora, a 61-unit condo building at 17550 Collins Avenue, this summer after reaching 50 percent in presales.

The condo market slowdown could be part of the developer’s decision to build apartments instead of condos. ISG’s latest Miami report, which tracks preconstruction sales in the tri-county region, found that developers sold only 212 units — or less than 1 percent of the pipeline — during the first quarter of this year. As of May, 80 percent or 19,326 units were presold of the 23,220 in the pipeline.

Other new rental projects in the works in Edgewater include Modera Edgewater and Biscayne 27.