Brickell Motors president Mario Murgado can move forward with his plans for a luxury condo building in North Miami.
The North Miami Planning Commission recommended approval of his plans, with caveats, to build Biscayne Harbour, an 11-story, 52-unit development at Broad Causeway and Northeast 123rd Street at a meeting on Thursday. Nearby residents who oppose the project packed the council chambers to voice their concerns over the project’s density.
The property is currently home to the 49-year-old White House Inn, a defunct hotel at 2305 Northeast 123rd Street that’s been vacant for years. North Miami’s planning commission voted to approve a zoning change and land use amendment with a covenant restricting development to 52 units with two parking spaces per unit. The city council will now review its recommendations Feb. 13.
Murgado’s MAR 2305 NE 123rd Street LLC paid $7.8 million for the waterfront 1-acre property in 2015. Property records show it has a market value of $4.5 million.
The Brickell Motors president’s plans for a dealership on the site were previously rejected. To build luxury condos, he needs the city council to approve a change in land use designation that would allow for up to 107 units.
Commissioner Bob Pechon was skeptical that the developer plans to build only 52 units if approved. “The only people who believe that the building will have 52 units (are on) our staff,” he said.
But the city could incorporate a strict covenant on the land dictating terms of development, commissioner Kevin Seifried suggested.
If the site is rezoned, Murgado could sell the land for a much higher price than he paid three years ago. A “teaser” listing from Avision Young quotes a higher density than is currently allowed. A footnote to the flier shows that the zoning change is pending approval.
Current zoning allows for 12 townhouses.
The property is a “buffer zone” between Keystone Point, a single-family residential neighborhood, and higher density residential buildings south of 123rd Street, said Karen deLeon, president of the Keystone Point Homeowners’ Association.
But some said the city chases developers away. “North Miami is stagnant,” Planning board commissioner Kenny Each said. In North Miami Beach’s Eastern Shores’ neighborhood, he said “there is a 30-story building going up. North Miami Beach is building beautiful buildings, while we’ll put storage development” in North Miami.