Developers propose 630-unit rental complex outside Miami-Dade’s UDB

Legacy Residential, CD Group and Fenix Contractors envision 14 low-rise buildings in Princeton neighborhood 

Legacy Residential Group's Tom Cabrerizo in front of a rendering of Westend at Princeton (Getty, Bellón Architecture, CD Group, Legacy Residential Group)
Legacy Residential Group's Tom Cabrerizo in front of a rendering of Westend at Princeton (Getty, Bellón Architecture, CD Group, Legacy Residential Group)

A group of developers wants to build a 630-unit multifamily complex outside Miami-Dade County’s Urban Development Boundary — an invisible greenbelt that’s meant to restrict suburban sprawl. 

Legacy Residential Group, CD Group and Fenix Contractors propose 14 three-story and four-story buildings on 20 acres at the southeast corner of Southwest 252nd Street and Southwest 145th Avenue in south Miami-Dade’s Princeton neighborhood, according to the developers’ filing submitted this month to the county. 

The filing is for a pre-application meeting, which is generally done before an official submittal is made. 

Called Westend at Princeton, the Bellón Architecture-designed project would offer one- to three-bedroom apartments. Some or potentially all of the units would be workforce housing, designated for households earning no more than 120 percent of the area median income, said Maurice Cayon, managing member of CD Group. Miami-Dade’s AMI is $68,300 annually. 

The Urban Development Boundary, or UDB, divides Miami-Dade’s developed areas from agricultural plots, wetlands and vacant tracts. It’s meant to stop encroachment of new construction toward Everglades and Biscayne national parks, as well as onto land that potentially could be used for Everglades restoration. 

The Westend application does not indicate that the development site includes environmentally vital land, but says the property has an agricultural zoning. 

Yet, Legacy, CD and Fenix still could face an uphill battle. Generally, a supermajority of county commissioners has to sign off on moving the UDB. Proposals tend to face pushback from preservationists and environmental groups. 

It remains to be seen how difficult it will be to obtain approval, Cayon said. But, he argued, Westend’s workforce housing units would “provide a product that is needed in the area.”

Across South Florida, apartment rents skyrocketed over the past two and a half years, following an influx of out-of-state residents who drove up demand. Since mid-last year, rent hikes have calmed to more traditional levels, with showing the median asking rent went up 7.2 percent, in March, year-over-year. But rents aren’t expected to drop to pre-pandemic levels. 

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Legacy, CD Group and Fenix own a total of 66 acres on the southwest corner of Southwest 248th Street and Southwest 142nd Avenue, including the Westend development site, according to records. All the land is outside the UDB. 

Miami-based Legacy, formerly called CFH Group, manages more than 6,500 apartments and has another 3,400 units under development, according to the firm’s website. It’s led by founder Tom Cabrerizo. 

CD Group, based in Miami-Dade, is a residential and commercial development firm helmed by Cayon. 

Fenix, based in Miami Lakes, is a contractor with a portfolio consisting of over 5,000 apartments, single-family homes and townhouses and 150,000 square feet of commercial space, according to its website. It’s led by Carlos Herrera. 

Fenix is both a partner in the Westend project and would be its general contractor, according to Cayon. 

This isn’t the first time the trio has partnered. They plan The Pointe at Princeton, a 518-unit apartment complex in Princeton near Westend’s development site, according to their submittal to the county. 

In 2020, Legacy and CD scored a $15.3 million construction loan for 30 luxury townhouses at 6790 to 6880 Southwest 80th Street in Miami. 

In the most controversial project proposal outside the UDB in recent history, a pair of developers sought approval for the 378-acre, 5.9 million-square-foot South Dade Logistics and Technology District. In November, county commissioners overrode Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s veto of the commission’s previous approval of the project slated for the southeast corner of the Florida Turnpike and Southwest 122nd Avenue.

But following a lawsuit against the county, a state agency said Miami-Dade messed up the South Dade Logistics approval process, which could mean a re-do of the vote. State lawmakers are considering a bill that would fix the alleged flaw in the project approval process, the Miami Herald reported