UPDATED Nov. 13, 12:30 p.m.: A controversial plan to build a new parking garage on the border of Miami’s Design District and the Buena Vista neighborhood is set for its first city commission vote next week.
Oak Plaza Associates, a partnership between Craig Robins‘ Dacra, L Real Estate, General Growth Properties and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp, is seeking permission to rezone five duplexes and two commercial properties along North Miami Avenue between Northwest 42nd and Northwest 44th streets, which abut a single-family neighborhood where some homeowners oppose the project.
According to documents filed with the city of Miami’s planning and zoning department, the proposed garage has been in the works since 2015. An August 31, 2017 letter by Oak Plaza attorney Neisen Kasdin states that rezoning the properties would allow for a new garage that would provide overflow parking in the Design District.
“There is a community need for a parking garage and the property is a suitable location to fullfill this need,” the letter states. “And [its] one of the only parcels that can satisfy the demand for parking in the area.”
The garage would be the fourth in the area. Two garages in the Design District, the Palm Court Parking Garage and the City View Garage, are already built and in operation, and the Museum Garage is currently under construction.
The planning and zoning department recommended approval of the zoning change for the latest proposed garage, but the Miami Planning and Zoning Appeals Board voted 7-3 to deny the project on Sept. 7, 2016.
Oak Plaza worked out covenants with Buena Vista Stakeholders Group and the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association to “ensure the zoning and land use amendments [are] appropriate and respectful of the neighborhood’s character and its current residents,” according to the letter.
Oak Plaza also agreed to allow the neighborhood association to have input as to the type of retail tenants that would lease commercial space on the garage’s ground floor and have input on the project’s design. Oak Plaza also agreed to provide additional security for the residential streets.
However, a vocal, dissenting group of homeowners and residents oppose the project because they say the garage will lead to more commercial development that will gentrify an affordable residential neighborhood. An online video made by Susan Braun, a filmmaker who lives in Buena Vista house across from the proposed garage site, shows opponents voicing their complaints. Braun said that more than 400 residents have signed a petition opposing the project.