It looks like it is back to the drawing board for the developers of a massive, nearly 1 million-square-foot, mixed-use project in Miami’s Wynwood.
L&L Holding Company and Carpe Real Estate Partners were dealt a setback on Wednesday, when the Miami Urban Development Review Board voted 4 to 0 to reject its proposed design for N29, an office, retail, and apartment complex.
The ruling is technically advice for Miami Planning Director Cesar Garcia-Pons, who has the ultimate say on approving the project’s design. However, UDRB member Dean Lewis told The Real Deal that the board’s recommendations are taken very seriously by planning staff.
The New York-based developers want to construct N29 on an assemblage of land at 31-95 Northwest 29th Street, 2925 Northwest First Avenue and 40-94 Northwest 30th Street in Miami.
L&L Holding Company and Carpe Real Estate are under contract to buy all of the properties, most of which are owned by the Rubell Family Collection.
The development site also abuts the 220,000-square-foot Gateway at Wynwood project.
N29 is planned to total 960,870 square feet, and range between eight and 12 stories tall. The project is proposed to include 200,000 square feet of office space, 523 residential units, 26,372 square feet of retail, 668 parking spaces, and 670 bicycle parking slots. It will also have a 22,000-square-foot, ground-floor public plaza and about 30,000 square feet of programmable space.
David Weitz, co-founder of Carpe Real Estate Partners, said the design of N29 drew “a lot of inspiration” from Oasis Wynwood, an office and retail project Carpe developed at 2335 North Miami Avenue. Weitz said that what makes Oasis unique is its large 30,000-square-foot courtyard.
While N29 already received the backing of the Wynwood Business Improvement District’s Design Review Committee in July, the project review at the UDRB was delayed in August after board members objected to the proposed building’s massing along 30th Street.
The Gensler architecture firm, which is designing the project, attempted to solve this problem by adding a 40-foot-wide paseo entrance on 30th Street and other artistic design elements.
But in the meeting on Wednesday, Ignacio Permuy, chairman of the UDRB, said the project still resembles a wall along Northwest 30th Street. “This is a huge massing that is 100 feet high and 400 feet long, and it is not being broken up,” Permuy said.
This isn’t the case along Northwest 29th Street, Permuy said. “You did a terrific job articulating and breaking up the massing and inviting the pedestrians,” he added.
Board member Robert Behar pushed for a vote to reject the current design.
“I cannot believe that there was an attempt to do what was requested,” Behar said. “That is the bottom line.”