Miami Beach voters overwhelmingly approve Wolfsonian-FIU expansion

Museum sought permission to increase FAR in order to move forward with renovation and expansion plans

Miami /
Nov.November 04, 2020 01:30 PM
Rendering of new Wolfsonian-FIU Museum by Zyscovich Architects

Rendering of new Wolfsonian-FIU Museum by Zyscovich Architects

A super majority of Miami Beach’s electorate approved the Wolfsonian-FIU’s plans to expand its footprint on Washington Avenue, one of the city’s long forgotten retail streets that is now undergoing redevelopment.

On Election Day, nearly 64 percent of city voters approved a ballot question asking them to increase the museum’s Floor Area Ratio, or FAR, to accommodate a 25,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of the Wolfsonian-FIU’s existing home, a Spanish Renaissance-style building with Art Deco influences. The vote also establishes the Wolfsonian Arts District.

“We’re excited that voters expressed support for The Wolfsonian–FIU’s vision on Election Day,” a museum spokesperson said in a statement. “It’s clear that Miami Beach residents value the arts and recognize the museum’s opportunity to invest even more deeply in bringing culture to the community.”

The FAR will increase from 1.5 to a maximum of 3.25 while capping the maximum height to 75 feet for properties in the Wolfsonian Arts District, at the northeast corner of 10th Street and Washington Avenue. The expansion will allow Wolfsonian-FIU to increase the number of collections on view, create a new lobby and a storefront presence on Washington Avenue. The new structure may also be used for state-of-the-art classrooms, studios, and a digital lab.

The final design by Zyscovich Architects still requires approval from the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board.

Washington Avenue is gearing up for a hotel, office and co-living development boom. Last week, developer Eric Birnbaum announced he is partnering with singer-songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams and hospitality mogul David Grutman to create the Goodtime Hotel, a 266-room hotel on Washington Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, which is set to open early next year. Birnbaum’s Dreamscape Companies will lead development of the seven-story building, a $200 million project that marks the first major new project on Washington Avenue in years.

Meanwhile, Developer Rishi Kapoor is bringing a mixed-used co-living and hotel project to 1260 Washington Avenue. The Historic Preservation Board unanimously approved the demolition of a one-story retail building constructed in 1948. It will be replaced with a six-story building with 56 hotel rooms, 49 co-living units and suites, a 104-seat restaurant, a rooftop pool deck, and micro-retail, according to records filed with the city. The neighboring four-story office building at 1234 Washington Avenue, which was built in 1961, will be renovated and preserved.


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