Resia proposes 948 workforce units in Medley under new Live Local Act

Firm is relying on state law that allows developers to bypass public hearings if they are building below market rate housing

Resia’s Ernesto Lopes with preliminary renderings of 948-unit workforce housing complex in Medley

Resia’s Ernesto Lopes with preliminary renderings of 948-unit workforce housing complex in Medley (Bellon Architecture, Live Resia)

Resia wants to build a 948-unit workforce housing complex in Medley under the Live Local Act, marking one of the first South Florida developers to seize on new legislation that allows them to bypass local approval for projects. 

The Miami-based firm proposes four 12-story buildings on an 18-acre site at 7701 Northwest 79th Avenue that now consists of a Miami-Dade County-owned Palmetto Metrorail station and adjacent surface parking, according to a filing to the county submitted on Thursday. The development would include 7,500 square feet of retail and a 1,596-space garage for both residents and the public. 

All units will be for households earning no more than 120 percent of the area median income, which is $68,300 in Miami-Dade. 

Resia is seeking administrative site plan approval for the project, saying that the Live Local Act allows the developer to bypass a public hearing since the project consists of entirely workforce units. 

Indeed, Florida lawmakers approved the affordable housing law this session, which strips local governments’ say over projects that provide below market rate housing. 

Aimed at alleviating the affordable housing shortage in Florida, the legislation also will pump $711 million into existing loan programs and incentives for the development of affordable housing. 

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Because the property is in a rapid transit zone, Miami-Dade has jurisdiction over the development proposal, even though it is within the town of Medley. 

Resia is partnering with MagicWaste Youth Foundation, a nonprofit that works on behalf of young men and women emerging from foster care, on the project. In September, county commissioners approved a lease and development agreement for the land with MagicWaste. 

Resia, formerly called AHS Residential, develops and manages multifamily properties nationwide. Led by Ernesto Lopes, Resia is a subsidiary of Brazilian publicly traded homebuilding and real estate firm MRV. 

It has focused on workforce housing in Miami-Dade. The firm is developing the 390-unit Resia Old Cutler west of Florida’s Turnpike and south of Southwest 216th Street in south Miami-Dade. Units will be for households earning no more than 140 percent of the AMI. 

In January, Resia sold the Oak Enclave Miami apartment complex at 2301 Northwest 167th Street in Miami Gardens for $113 million to Harbor Group International. 

If its Medley project moves forward, it would mark one of the biggest residential developments in the largely industrial town. Last year, Medley was home to the biggest industrial deal in South Florida, TA Realty’s $241 million purchase of 12 warehouses at 9701-9793 Northwest 91st Court.