Beach Towing scores a victory over Deco Capital Group

Miami Beach board rejects developer’s challenge that Beach Towing is not allowed to operate in Sunset Harbour neighborhood

Mar.March 05, 2019 02:30 PM

Bradley Colmer, a Sunset Park rendering and 1349 Dade Boulevard (Credit: Domo Architecture and Design and Google Maps)

In a blow to Deco Capital Group’s ongoing battle with Beach Towing, the Miami Beach Board of Adjustment denied the developer’s appeal challenging the tow company’s operations as a legal zoning use in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood.

In its appeal, Deco Capital sought to overturn a determination by Miami Beach Planning Director Thomas Mooney that Beach Towing is allowed to run a tow yard at 1349 Dade Boulevard even though a 1989 revision to the city code no longer allows tow services in Sunset Harbour. In an August 2018 memo, Mooney concluded Beach Towing has been grandfathered in since the company had been at its current location since 1986 and has provided towing services for more than three decades.

The adjustment board voted 6-0 against Deco Capital.

The developer is planning to build a mixed-use project called Sunset Park on land it owns adjacent to Beach Towing’s yard. Sunset Park would be a five-story development totaling 67,000 square feet with 20,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, one level of parking and 12 condo units. Deco Capital principal Bradley Colmer is partnering with RWN Real Estate Partners, a New York-based private equity firm backed by billionaire Marc Rowan, to build Sunset Park.

Colmer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Beach Towing attorney Ralph Andrade said Deco Capital’s appeal was a frivolous attempt to improperly interfere with his client’s operations.

“Now that Bradley Colmer’s crusade has petered out with a whimper, perhaps he will get back to the important work of promoting Mr. Rowan’s development instead of trying to put his neighbors out of business,” Andrade said.

During the adjustment board meeting, board member Barton Goldberg said the city’s booming real estate market would eventually drive both Beach Towing and Tremont Towing, the city’s other tow operator, out of Sunset Harbour.

“The properties you are talking about are going to be worth so much more,” he said. “Eventually, these properties will be redeveloped into something else. It will happen sooner or later.”

Deco Capital’s battle with Beach Towing went to Miami-Dade Circuit Court in 2016. The developer sued Beach Towing and the Lofts at South Beach Condominium for opposing Deco Capital’s quest for a height increase of its initial project on nine lots at 1733-1769 Purdy Avenue and 1730 Bay Road. The same year, Deco Capital delivered a legal memo to the city arguing Beach Towing’s operations in Sunset Harbor was in violation of Miami Beach zoning regulations.The lawsuit is still pending.

Recently, Beach Towing filed a petition in Miami-Dade Circuit Court challenging the city’s planning board’s approval of Sunset Park and an appeal with the city commission to overturn a separate approval by the Miami Beach Design Review Board.

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