Opposition mounts to transit-oriented, mixed-use project in South Miami

As proposed, project would have 200k sf of office, 23k sf of retail and 99 apartments

Rendering of Treo Group's South Miami project
Rendering of Treo Group's South Miami project

South Miami officials are mounting opposition against a proposal to build a mixed-use office and retail complex at a nearby Metrorail station.

Late Wednesday evening, city commissioners passed a resolution objecting to the project as it is currently designed, citing the developer’s desire to reduce required parking and a lack of affordable housing.

Coconut Grove-based The Treo Group has entered into an agreement with Miami-Dade County to build a transit-oriented development consisting of roughly 200,000 square feet of office, 23,000 square feet of retail and 99 apartments for University of Miami students.

For final approval, Treo must present its project to the county’s Rapid Transit Development Impact Committee, which will review it against development standards adopted by South Miami in 2002. The city gets to appoint two voting members to the executive committee.

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During the meeting, several South Miami residents also voiced opposition to the development proposal. “This is a giveaway of our public land to enrich a group of developers,” said Antoinette Fisher. “There will be no public benefit whatsoever.”

Another resident, Bishop Jones, added “They want to ram it down the city’s throat without any consideration for affordable housing. It is unfair to the city and the residents.”

South Miami City Manager Steven Alexander told commissioners the project, known as the Treo Somi Station, deviates from several development standards adopted by the city, including a ground-floor story height of 22 feet where only a 14-foot maximum is allowed, an overall building height of eight stories where only five stories is allowed and a parking reduction of 34 percent where the cap is 25 percent.

However, the city is willing to drop its objections if Treo agrees to designate 25 of the apartments for non-student, workforce housing to accommodate residents with incomes ranging from 60 percent to 140 percent of the area median income, as well as improvements to Southwest 70th Street and Southwest 59th Place to handle the increase in vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic and improve the aesthetics of the right-of-way.

Representatives of Treo could not be immediately reached for comment.

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