Victory in North Bay Village for billionaire Ansin family’s Sunbeam Properties

Developer plans 2K resi units, up to 300 hotel rooms, up to 870K sf of office, retail

Andy Ansin and renderings of project in North Bay Village (Sunbeam)
Andy Ansin and renderings of project in North Bay Village (Sunbeam)

The billionaire Ansin family’s Sunbeam Properties secured the final vote needed to build a taller 7.3 million-square-foot development on 13 acres it owns in North Bay Village.

Despite residents’ opposition to the height increases, North Bay Village commissioners voted in favor of three ordinances, on second reading after midnight Tuesday. The ordinances allow the developer to build up to 650 feet high, which could be as tall as 65 stories, on the waterfront properties in Sunbeam’s Special Area Plan (SAP). North Bay Village is sandwiched between mainland Miami and Miami Beach. The first ordinance amends Sunbeam’s special area plan, changing the zoning within the SAP to T6-30 from T6-24. The second ordinance approves the conceptual site plan for the mixed-use project, and the third ordinance OK’s the developer agreement between the village and developer.

Sunbeam sought an increase in building height to up to 450 feet tall — from 240 feet that was allowed — for the properties south of the 79th Street Causeway; and the ability to build up to 650 feet tall on properties in two areas north of the causeway, where zoning allowed for 340-foot-tall structures.

Mayor Brent Lathan voted against two of the three ordinances: the special area plan amendment to increase the allowable height, and the development agreement. He voted in favor of the conceptual site plan. Commissioner Julianna Strout voted against all three ordinances. Vice Mayor Marvin Wilmouth and commissioners Rachel Streitfeld and Richard Chervony voted in favor of all three.

Overall, the phased project could include nearly 2,000 residential units with some workforce housing apartments; 112,500 square feet of hotel space with 300 hotel rooms; 870,000 square feet of office and retail space; public space that includes a baywalk; and about 5,000 parking spaces, and open space.

One building will be 650 feet tall, another will be 550 feet tall, two buildings will be 450 feet tall, three will be 340 feet tall, and two buildings will be 240 feet tall, said Andrew Ansin, president and CEO of Sunbeam Properties. A floor is typically 10 feet tall, so the buildings could range from 24 stories to 65 stories, though high-end properties tend to have taller ceiling heights.

The project will likely be built in four phases, starting with a residential component on the Grove by the Bay property in southwest North Bay Village, Ansin said. He expects the entire residential portion of the project will be rentals, and Sunbeam would develop it without partners.

“We think generationally there’s benefits to ownership,” said Ansin, who took over leadership of Sunbeam after his father Edmund Ansin died two years ago.

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Sunbeam’s parent company, Sunbeam Television, owns WSVN-Channel 7, which is on part of the site and would likely have a satellite studio within the project. Sunbeam hasn’t decided where WSVN’s new main studio and office will be located, Ansin said, but it will move from North Bay Village.

Sunbeam developed the Miramar Park of Commerce, as well as business parks in Indiana.

During the pandemic, Sunbeam paid $56.5 million for the waterfront land next to WSVN-Channel 7’s building. Those acquisitions included the former Trio on the Bay restaurant site at 1601 79th Street, two waterfront acres at 1555 North Bay Causeway, and the waterfront property at 1415 Northeast 79th Street. Sunbeam has long owned that TV station property.

The zoning items had garnered opposition from residents who said the project is out of scale.

In a North Bay Village Facebook group, one resident wrote after the vote that she was “very sad & disappointed at some of the commissioners voted for the monstrosity. Bye beautiful community.”

As part of the development agreement, Sunbeam has to apply for a building permit within two years. Ansin said he expects to submit an application sooner than that. After the southwest portion is developed, Sunbeam would build on WSVN’s peninsula property. A single-tenant office building is planned for the Presidente Supermarket-anchored retail south of the 79th Street Causeway.

Sunbeam will allow the fire station to temporarily move to part of its assemblage and pre-pay impact fees that will help pay for the fire station and other public benefits, Ansin said.

Ansin said Sunbeam could apply to build a marina at the project, potentially with a ferry that could connect to hedge fund Citadel’s planned headquarters. Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin, who is relocating the Chicago firm to the Brickell bayfront, recently told Bloomberg that the project could include a marina. That would likely involve a difficult approval process.