The Miami River Commission on Monday backed a zoning change that will allow developer Antonio Pardo to knock down decades-old homes and remove 80 trees to build a four-story, 66-unit apartment building at 1515 Northwest South River Drive.
The backing came despite opposition from a nearby homeowners association. Now the project will go before the Miami Planning Zoning & Appeals Board later this month, said Ben Fernandez, Pardo’s attorney.
Fernandez said the project is being built immediately across the river from River Landing Miami, a $380 million, 2-million-square-foot residential and retail project that developer Andrew Hellinger started building at 1400 Northwest North River Drive.
“That [River Landing Miami] is going to drastically change the character of the river,” Fernandez said. Pardo’s project, Fernandez argued, will help create a “transition” between the booming river area and the historic Oak Park neighborhood just east of the 836 expressway.
But Theodora “Theo” Long, president of the homeowners association, said the proposed project will dump more traffic on an area that is already inundated with vehicles during Miami Marlins games.
The project would also knock down four single-family homes that now stand on the 1.8-acre property. At least two of which, Long said, were built during the 1920s. And one of houses on the site was once owned by Roddy Burdine, the owner of the Burdines department store chain, Long insisted. As for the trees, at least a dozen were more than 100 years old, Long added.
Fernandez said none of the homes west of the 836 were designated historic. As for the trees, developer Pardo said that he intended to keep the largest and oldest trees on the site and move the rest to a public-right-of-way just west of the project site.
In exchange for a zoning change from single-family residential to low-density multifamily residential, Pardo will create a 300-foot-long public riverwalk. Pardo also agreed to improve a nearby seawall and vowed to meet and work with residents.
Pardo bought the properties in 2014 for about $4 million, combined. The developer plans to build market-rate apartments on the site, Fernandez said.