Plans revealed: Three more Live Local Act apartment towers proposed in Wynwood

Projects would alter look of Miami neighborhood now restricted to 12 stories

Hidrock, Ultimate Equity Plan Live Local Wynwood Projects
Bazbaz Development president Sonny Bazbaz with Bazbaz Development’s proposed Live Local Act tower in Miami’s Wynwood. (Bazbaz Development, Arquitectonica)

Developers are seizing on the Live Local Act with plans for five apartment high-rise projects in Wynwood. The towers, which would range from 18 to 48 stories, promise to alter the look of the Miami neighborhood, where heights for years have been capped at 12 stories. 

Three of the proposals were recently revealed. New York-based Hidrock Properties plans a 39-story, 336-unit tower at 2534 North Miami Avenue; Miami Court Holdings proposes a 19-story, 401-unit tower at 2100 Northwest Miami Court; and David Sedaghati’s Ultimate Equity plans a 25-story, 996-unit apartment tower on the southeast corner of Northwest Sixth Avenue and Northwest 26th Street, the Miami Herald reported

In other proposals, Clara Homes’ preliminary plan is for an 18-story to 20-story building with about 150 apartments on the site of the Austin Burke menswear store at 2601 Northwest Sixth Avenue. Also, Bazbaz Development proposes the tallest tower, a 48-story building with 544 units at 2110, 2118 and 2134 North Miami Avenue, as well as 2101, 2129 and 2135 Northwest Miami Court. 

Miami-based Clara Homes is led by James Curnin. Bazbaz, with offices in New York and Miami, is led by Sonny Bazbaz. 

The Live Local Act, approved by state lawmakers last year and tweaked this year, incentivizes developers to include affordable and workforce housing in their projects by allowing them to skip public hearings for approvals and build much bigger buildings than local zonings permit. To qualify under the legislation, at least 40 percent of an apartment project’s units must be designated for households earning no more than 120 percent of the area median income. The units have to remain at below-market rents for at least 30 years. 

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Under the law, developers can build up to the highest density allowed in a municipality, and up to the tallest height allowed within a mile of the development site. 

Critics have raised questions as to whether the state law will truly provide a reprieve to Florida’s affordable housing crisis. At Miami-Dade County’s $79,400 annual area median income, a one-person household can earn up to $95,400 a year to qualify for a unit in a Live Local Act project, according to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. 

Some municipal officials and urban planners also have said the law ultimately lets developers ram through projects that will trump neighborhoods’ low-rise and mid-rise characters. 

This month, the Wynwood Design Review Committee rejected Bazbaz’s proposal, with one board member calling it “simplistic” and “unremarkable.” 

“Wynwood is never simplistic and unremarkable,” board member Shamim Ahmadzadegan said during the committee meeting. 

Bazbaz’s project is the first Live Local Act development in Wynwood to come before the design review committee. The committee only has power to recommend approval or denial, with the final say resting with city planning staff. 

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