Terra, one of South Florida’s most prolific developers, is looking to build a seven-building apartment complex behind the Central Shopping Plaza in Miami’s Flagami neighborhood.
The proposed development would take up 2.5 million square feet and add 1,384 apartments to the 38-acre site at 3825 Northwest 7th Street, adjacent to Magic City Casino.
The Coconut Grove-based developer is under contract to buy the property from HayDay Inc., a company controlled by the Havenick family, which also owns the casino. According to Miami-Dade property records, the 38-acre site has an assessed value of $45 million. Details of the project were presented to Miami’s Urban Development Review Board on Tuesday.
“Terra is seeking approval to reposition the underutilized Central Shopping Plaza into a 38-acre mixed-use development,” Terra said in a statement. “Plans for the development include preserving and upgrading the existing retail center with significant infrastructure and landscaping improvements, while adding an adjacent market-rate multifamily housing component with on-site parking and new green space.”
Terra, led by David Martin, also said the property’s close proximity to Miami International Airport, the Coral Gables business district and Blue Lagoon office complex makes it an attractive redevelopment play. It is bounded by Northwest 37th Avenue on the east, Northwest 7th Street on the south, Northwest 39th Avenue on the west and Northwest 11th Street on the north.
Designed by Arquitectonica, the seven new buildings would line the perimeter behind the L-shaped shopping center, which is home to Fresco y Mas grocery store, Party City, Walgreens and other smaller retailers. It also has a shuttered Kmart. The new buildings would consist of eight stories and Terra would also add 3,145 new parking spaces.
The shopping center and a large parking lot would remain intact. Yet, Iris Escarra, a zoning lawyer for Terra, hinted the developer intends to build on top of the parking lot in the near future. Escarra told review board members that Terra has a 20-year master plan for the site, but that due to parking restriction covenants with some of the shopping center’s tenants, the developer did not want to reveal details of the master plan.
“Until we can get consent from the tenants, we can’t show anything because of the restrictions on those parking spaces,” Escarra said. “I anticipate there will be something there in the near future.”
Terra requested approval of the project be deferred to next month’s review board meeting after some board members said they wanted to know more about the master plan. “I understand you have legal restrictions with your leaseholders,” said UDRB Chairman Willy Bermello. “What is the end game? A lot of these strip centers are disappearing all over America.”
In its statement, Terra said it will take the review board’s comments into account. “We appreciate that the UDRB took the time to fully understand how this low-impact infill development will enhance the property while addressing our community’s housing shortage,” the company’s statement said. “We will now take the board’s recommendations into account and look forward to presenting our revised plan in December.”