The Real Deal Miami

Miami board approves two mixed-use projects in Edgewater and Overtown

Mill Creek plans to demolish Unity on the Bay Church; Estate Investments Group wants to build near Brightline’s MiamiCentral
By Francisco Alvarado | October 18, 2018 01:30PM

Rendering of Modera Biscayne Bay and Soleste Grand Central

UPDATED Oct. 18, 4:30 p.m.: A deal to transform the Unity on the Bay Church in Miami’s Edgewater District into a 29-story mixed-use rental building moved closer to fruition following key approvals by two city of Miami boards.

The Urban Design Review Board on Wednesday granted six waivers for a 541,000-square-foot tower and pedestal with 296 apartments, 11,600 square feet of commercial space and 432 parking spaces proposed by Mill Creek Residential. The waivers included a 30 percent parking reduction and a 10 percent decrease in the side setbacks above the 8th floor of the proposed project, which is called Modera Biscayne Bay.

Last month, the Miami Plat and Street Committee gave tentative approval to the Boca Raton-based developer’s request to replat the church site, including a 100-year-old mansion, located at 412 Northeast 22nd Street and 436 Northeast 22nd Street, into two tracts.

“The really exciting part is what is happening on the ground floor,” said Marissa Neufeld, a Greenberg Traurig associate representing Mill Creek. “We will have two separate significant retail spaces divided into 4,000 square feet and 7,000 square feet. We are also significantly altering the street grid by opening up a dead end on Bayshore Drive and bringing connectivity to the area.”

Mill Creek is under contract to buy the church site, which went on the market two years ago. According to a 2015 South Florida Business Journal article, the asking price was $39.75 million.

Part of the 2-acre lot has a sweeping unobstructed view of Biscayne Bay, and the developer plans to take full advantage of it. According to the plans, the proposed building will have an amenity deck and a pool deck atop the 28th floor. Mill Creek also developed the 297-unit apartment building at 45 Northeast 24th Street called Modera Edgewater.

The board’s green light is the final approval needed by the city.

The Urban Design Review Board also approved a new mixed-use residential tower in Overtown near Brightline’s MiamiCentral project. Estate Investments Group has a pending contract to purchase a development site from Sawyers Walk Limited at 218 Northwest Eighth Street. The developer is planning an 18-story building with a total of 429,000 square feet, of which 6,500 square feet would be commercial space called Soleste Grand Central. The residential component would have 40 units set aside for affordable housing and will have studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

“Everything surrounding us has been a hub for [new development] popping up out of the ground,” said Iris Escarra, a Greenberg Traurig lawyer for Celeste Grand Central. “This area, which for a long time was surface lots, is now coming to fruition.”

The board’s approval is also the final one needed from the city for the project.