Crescent Heights to go before Miami Beach board for 5th and Alton tower

Developer is proposing 36-story building with roughly 288 units

Rendering of 500 Alton Road and Russell Galbut
Rendering of 500 Alton Road and Russell Galbut

One of Miami Beach’s most controversial development plans is up for discussion again.

Developer Russell Galbut will go before the Miami Beach Land Use and Development Committee on Wednesday for the site at Fifth Street and Alton Road. A rally is planned in opposition.

Galbut, co-founder of Crescent Heights, is proposing three options for the 85,348-square-foot block, in exchange for offering space for a public park that the developer would pay for. Crescent Heights is proposing a 36-story building with about 288 units; a 42-story tower with about 336 units; or a 50-story, 400-unit building for the property. It would take up the entire block with a parking pedestal.

The developer has approval to build 60-foot to 75-foot buildings with up to 510 units, but the developer has been pursuing approvals for a taller tower for years. The properties include the three blocks between Alton Road and West Avenue from Fifth to Seventh streets where the South Shore Hospital shell remains.

The developer’s adjacent Wave mixed-use development includes apartments, 63,000 square feet of commercial space and a 122,000-square-foot outpatient and medical complex for Baptist Health South Florida.

Some neighborhood groups have emerged in support and against the developer for the 500 Alton Road site. The condo board for the Bentley Bay, at 520 West Avenue, and the Floridian, at 650 West Avenue, reached a compromise with Galbut to support plans for the 38-story proposal, said Allan Kleer of the Bentley Bay board. Kleer, an agent with One Sotheby’s International Realty, said the buildings along West Avenue endorsed the proposal, which also calls for a five-story, mixed-use retail and residential building on the 600 block of Alton Road and about 3 acres of public green space.

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Miami Beach activist Frank Del Vecchio is leading a rally against the developer. His Gateway Community Alliance is supporting a separate option: a 280-foot building for the 500 Alton Road property with the parking pedestal taking up only half of the block. The floor plate would be about 6,800 square feet.

The Gateway proposal also calls for the remaining open space on the 500 and 600 blocks to become parks, with the developer leaving the surface parking lot intact at 700 Alton Road, the latter of which the Floridian residents use for parking.

Del Vecchio said the West Avenue, South of Fifth and Sunset Harbour associations oppose the developer’s proposals. The West Avenue association voted in May to reject any proposal for the redevelopment of the 500 and 600 blocks of Alton Road “involving the aggregation of floor area ratio across two or more city blocks,” according to a letter.

“Residents come first and we’ve got to put a pause to development,” Del Vecchio added.

Those supporting the 38-story building, one of the developer’s proposed options, welcome the development, calling the three blocks of vacant land “an eyesore and a nuisance to our residents and to the neighborhood for far too long,” according to a letter from the Bentley Bay’s condo board.

The project would require approval from the city commission, a city memo shows.