It’s back to the drawing board for Aimco, after a city of Miami board denied recommending approval of its plans for a luxury rental tower in Edgewater.
Miami Urban Development Review Board members voted on Wednesday to reject plans for the proposed mixed-use development across from Aimco’s Hamilton on the Bay tower, after finding a number of “major issues” with the design, one board member said.
Aimco, a Denver-based publicly traded multifamily real estate investment trust, is proposing a 60 story, 241-unit tower at 555, 560, 600, 610, 620, 630, and 640 Northeast 34th Street. The development, on more than an acre of land, would also include roughly 4,700 square feet of commercial space for a restaurant on the ground floor fronting the water, and a new parking garage. Stantec is designing the plans.
Aimco can still move forward to seek approval for the project, despite the board’s denial.
Aimco’s attorney, Tony Recio, a partner with Weiss Serota Helfman Cole + Bierman, said in a statement provided to The Real Deal that the developer is reviewing the board’s suggestions and looks forward “to addressing their comments with the planning director” as Aimco forges ahead. Recio presented the project to the board at Wednesday’s meeting.
At first, the board was split on recommending approval of the plans with conditions, with three board members voting in favor and three against. As a result, the developer could either withdraw its application and restart the process, or the board could vote to deny recommendation, so the developer could submit its revised plans to the planning director for final approval. The latter occurred.
Though they complimented the project’s overall design, board members had issues with circulation on the ground floor — how residents and restaurant visitors would access parking, the apartments and the restaurant, as well as issues with access to loading and trash collection, a lack of landscaping and an oversized mail room.
“I cannot approve a project knowing there are so many issues that are wrong,” said board chair Ignacio Permuy. “A lot of these are major issues. When you have circulation issues on the ground floor, it’s not going to get any better. It’s going to get worse.”
Added board member Anthony Tzamtzis: “In the effort to create the maximum possible building, you have created certain conditions that are very difficult, and I have a problem with that.”
Aimco has made a big push into Edgewater. Nearly two years ago, it paid close to $90 million for the Hamilton on the Bay rental building, which is undergoing major renovations. The deal included a nearby vacant lot and an adjacent small rental building.