Miami board approves plans for Related, Crescent Heights towers and rejects Melo’s proposal

Board heavily criticized Melo’s plans for 58-story downtown Miami tower

Miami /
Oct.October 22, 2020 02:30 PM
A rendering of Downtown 1st and Carlos Melo (Credit: Sonya Revel)

A rendering of Downtown 1st and Carlos Melo (Credit: Sonya Revel)

A city of Miami board rejected plans for Melo Group’s latest downtown Miami project, and approved plans for separate projects from Crescent Heights and the Related Group.

On Wednesday, the Miami Urban Development Board unanimously approved Crescent Heights’ 38-story tower at 2900 Biscayne Boulevard and a 37-story mixed-use project at 225 North Miami Avenue that Related and ROVR Development are planning to build.

A rendering of Crescent Heights Nema

A rendering of Crescent Heights Nema

It rejected Melo’s Downtown 1st, a 57-story mixed-use building that would take up three city blocks in downtown Miami between Southwest First Street and Southwest Second Street. Melo Group principal Carlos Melo, who is an architect, refused to alter the design of the 570-unit project after board members took turns bashing the proposed building. The firm can either come back to the board with a new design or file an appeal with Miami’s planning and zoning director.

Board chairman Willy Bermello said he was having a hard time getting excited about Downtown 1st. “There are some integral mistakes here [such as] the frontage and the placement of the tower on the pedestal,” Bermello said. “I am having issues granting waivers for something where I don’t see a benefit to the city or the adjacent community.”

Board member Anthony Tzamtzis echoed Bermello. “I feel the building is excessive and monolithic,” he said. “We have seen this type of work before and we turned it down.”

But Melo said he didn’t see any problems with the proposed design. “I feel this building is a very great product for the market we are focusing on,” he said. “I am an architect too and I have been in this business since I was 17 years old.”

In addition to apartments, Downtown 1st would also have 10,000 square feet of office and ground floor retail space. The building would be located at 22, 30 and 34 Southwest First Street, 35, 25 and 19 Southwest Second Street, and 112 South Miami Avenue.

Rendering of The District

Rendering of The District

At Wednesday’s meeting, the board approved The District, a 37-story mixed-use project with 343 residential units and nearly 2,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Related is partnering with ROVR Development, led by Oscar Rodriguez and Ricardo Vadia, on the downtown Miami project.

Board members also gave Crescent Heights the green light to move forward with a 38-story mixed-use building in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood that would feature a ground floor retail space for an organic grocer. It’s the first phase of a larger plan to redevelop the area.


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