North Miami Beach approves micro-city for West Dixie Highway

2.5M sf New North Town Center, to be built on former brownfield site, would include retail, residential units, offices, a hotel and a school

Renderings for New North Town Center
Renderings for New North Town Center

The North Miami Beach City Commission unanimously approved a 2.5-million-square-foot mixed-use project on Tuesday that will be designed as a “micro-city,” along the lines of Midtown Miami.

Called New North Town Center, the project will be constructed on an 18-acre site that North Miami Beach officials call the TECO Gas Site, a brownfield that has been undergoing environmental remediation since the late 1980s.

New North Town Center, at 15530 West Dixie Highway, will include up to 1,650 residential units, 260,000 square feet of office space, 175,000 square feet of retail space, a 175-room hotel and a 120,000-square-foot school. Height limits will range between three stories near the single-family Allen Park area to as high as 20 stories near Northeast 159th Street and West Dixie Highway.

Gabriel Boano of Bay Harbor Islands-based Art+Tec Development and Hector Mendez of Metropole Holdings Inc. in Aventura bought the property under the entity New North Equities for $21.14 million in January 2017.

Boano said the developers intend to break ground within six months and present the city with the project’s first site plan before the end of the year. Under the 30-year development agreement, each building will have to be brought before the city for approval. The first building proposed will likely be the school, Boano added.

Similar to Midtown Miami near the Wynwood area, Boano wants to build a miniature community designed by Zyscovich Architects where people can live, work, play, and even send their kids to school — all in the same location. “I think the concept of the micro-city is what we will try to create,” Boano said.

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The details of the plan are still being worked out. For example, Boano said he isn’t sure if the future school will be a charter, a public, or a private facility. The residential units will include townhouses and multifamily buildings, he said. A hotel and an office complex near 159th Street will be the tallest structures, standing up to 225 feet.

The development agreement stipulates that the builders pay the city up to $1.6 million in park impact fees, $400,000 in police impact fees, $100,000 in public art pieces, and $600,000 toward an infrastructure improvement fund.

The developers are also negotiating with the city in a plan to revive Taylor Park, a 22-acre park abutting the TECO site that has been shuttered since 1998 after high levels of arsenic, ammonia, and other dangerous chemicals were found in the park’s soil and groundwater.

As for the TECO site itself, Michael Goldstein, an attorney representing Boano and Mendez, said the groundwater is currently being remediated. The soil, on the other hand, has already been taken care of. “Over 53,000 tons of contaminated soil has been removed from the site,” Goldstein told the North Miami Beach City Commission.

For the most part, elected officials were enthusiastic about New North. Commissioner Ingrid Forbes said she hopes it will revitalize a depressed area of North Miami Beach. 

“It’s a world-class project,” Forbes said. “It’ll bring some life to that area.”

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