Coral Gables condo hotel sues city over approval of neighboring project

The David William Hotel Condominium Association appealed board of architects’ March approval

The David William
The David William

The David William Hotel Condominium Association is suing the city of Coral Gables, demanding it appeal the approval of a neighboring condo project.

The David William, at 700 Biltmore Way, and Jorge Guarch Jr., who owns a unit in the building, filed a complaint for Writ of Mandamus, or as an alternative, complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, that would allow the hotel condo association to appeal the approval of the 11-story condo building planned for 701 Valencia Avenue.

Coral Gables City Attorney Miriam Soler Ramos called the lawsuit “an issue of process that wasn’t followed” by the plaintiffs because they tried to appeal the board of architects’ decision, which does not have the ability to opine on zoning, she added.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

W. Tucker Gibbs, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said the appeal was filed properly, and that there’s no basis for the city’s rejection.

The David William filed a notice of its appeal of the nearby project in March, arguing that the height of the planned development is too tall and that the hotel-condo building would be negatively impacted by additional traffic, lights and noise. In July, the city attorney determined the appeal would not be considered by the commission “despite language in the city code that requires such appeals be heard by the commission,” according to the complaint.

Property records show Biltmore Development LLC paid $1.6 million for the existing condo building at 701 Valencia Avenue in 2015. Luis Arevalo and David Torres of T&A Builders control the company. They could not immediately be reached for comment. The property is across the street from Biltmore Parc, a five-story, 32-unit condo development at 718 Valencia Avenue that MG Developer completed last year.

The David William’s association wants the city to place the appeal on the architectural board’s agenda. As an alternative, it’s asking the court to determine whether the city commission can hear all appeals from the board of architects, whether the city attorney has the authority to determine if the commission will hear an appeal, and whether the city attorney’s decision “regarding the development rights” of a project must be advertised beforehand.