By a slim margin, city voters rejected Terra’s proposal to redevelop the Miami Beach Marina, replacing a commercial building anchored by Monty’s Sunset with a 38-story luxury condo tower.
According to the final vote tally, 51 percent of Miami Beach’s electorate voted no on a ballot question asking residents to sell the air rights above the retail complex to Terra, which partnered with the marina’s operator Suntex on its proposal. Roughly 48 percent of voters said yes.
In a separate ballot question, Terra and Suntex managed to convince voters to approve their long-term lease to operate and upgrade the marina, but the redevelopment of the building is dead in the water.
Terra President David Martin had dangled $55 million to buy the air rights from the city, but grassroots opponents of the project claimed the value of the air rights was worth more than the developer’s offer, and protested that the agreement was made without a competitive bid process.
Opponents also objected to the city awarding a key parcel of public waterfront land for another condo development. Miami Beach Marina and the Monty’s site are at 300 to 400 Alton Road in the city’s South-of-Fifth neighborhood.
In a written statement, Martin did not address losing the air rights vote, and he still claimed victory.
“The results of yesterday’s vote make it clear that Miami Beach voters support our vision for a revitalized Miami Beach Marina alongside a package of community benefits and resiliency improvements to develop a ‘world class’ marina,” Martin said. “Our team will now work with the city to determine the path forward.”
Andrea Spiridonakos, a Miami Beach resident who founded the grassroots opposition group Save Monty’s, said Miami Beach voters saw through the slick campaigning put out by Terra and the city’s elected officials, who stumped for the developer’s proposal. “It wasn’t easy,” Spiridonakos said. “We fought against mega-money, the mayor and every elected politician.”
Voters did not want the city to sell a vital slice of public land to a private developer, she added. “It’s the last piece of public waterfront property in South Beach,” Spiridonakos said. “People hold it dear in their hearts.”
Martin once again turned to Bjarke Ingels Group, which designed Terra’s Grove at Grand Bay condo towers in Coconut Grove, to design the proposed 385-foot tower to replace the Monty’s building, which would have been demolished. The new building would have included about 60 condos totaling 275,000 square feet, as well as 45,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office and marina space, and a 1-acre park.
The city originally entered into a lease in 1983 with the previous marina operator. That lease was supposed to expire in 2022. Now, Terra and Suntex will have a new 99-year lease.
Despite the election loss, Terra is building a lasting imprint in Miami Beach. The Coconut Grove-based developer is partnering with Crescent Heights to develop the Canopy Club and Canopy Park, a luxury condo project and a community park previously known as the 500 Alton development and later Park on Fifth. Martin is also teaming up with Turnberry Associates’ Jackie Soffer to develop the 800-room Miami Beach Convention Center hotel, which will be under the Grand Hyatt flag.