The Dorsey project in Wynwood wins design approval

Mixed-use project will have 306 apartments, with most between 500 square feet and 600 square feet, as well as office, retail and a garage

From left: Jorge Perez, Alex Karakhanian, Scott Sherman and Ben Mandell, with The Dorsey rendering
From left: Jorge Perez, Alex Karakhanian, Scott Sherman and Ben Mandell, with The Dorsey rendering

The latest mixed-use project in Wynwood spearheaded by the Related Group won a nod from the Miami Urban Development Review Board, despite one board member’s sharp criticism that new buildings in the city’s hottest neighborhood lack pizazz.

The board on Wednesday voted 7-0 to approve five design waivers for The Dorsey, a proposed 12-story apartment building with a parking garage and nearly 95,000 square feet of office and retail at Northwest Third Avenue between 28th and 29th streets.

Located on a 2.1 acre site that was once a Coca-Cola plant, the project is being developed by a joint venture involving Related, Alex Karakhanian, and Tricera Capital.

The Dorsey will include 306 apartments, with a majority between 500 square feet and 600 square feet, with some as small as 400 square feet. The commercial space is being divided into 35,858 square feet of retail and 58,760 square feet of office. The project will also run along a planned woonerf, a Dutch-inspired pedestrian-friendly street.

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In September, the partnership’s entity Weck 29 LLC paid $32 million for the property, which includes buildings as old as 1928 that will be demolished. Renderings by project designer Arquitectonica depict a large square-shaped concrete structure accented by art murals taking up an entire city block. The design is similar to Wynwood 25 and Wynwood Annex, a project Related and East End Capital recently completed, and The Bradley, another mixed-use development Related is currently building with partner Block Capital.

Neil Hall, one of the review board’s longest-serving members, said the new wave of commercial and multifamily projects in Wynwood is killing the neighborhood’s artsy vibe, despite special zoning regulations that require developers to incorporate artistic treatments, such as murals, into their projects. “We spent 15 years building that brand as a space for creativity and funkiness,” Hall said. “That is fast being destroyed.”

He also criticized Arquitectonica’s design of The Dorsey. “The building you are creating looks like it is coming from New York,” Hall said. “It doesn’t have a Miami feel.”

Still, Hall joined his six colleagues, who effusively praised The Dorsey’s design, in granting the joint venture the waivers, including a 30 percent parking reduction and tweaks to the project’s seven-story garage.