Brickell project tied to moving 1st Miami high school
By Paola Iuspa
A residential, rental high-rise will take the place of Miami's first high school on Southwest First Avenue under an agreement approved by the city.
Developers will try to move the school, built in 1909, across the street to South Side Park. If that's impossible, the developer will be responsible for creating an archive with photos and information about the school kept by the city, said Lourdes Slazyk, city assistant planning director.
If moving the structure is not possible, the developer would have to produce measured drawings and photographs to the standards of the Historic American Building Survey, she said.
The deal was struck between the City of Miami and the partnership of KV Brickell Partners Ltd., 1000 Brickell Ltd. and Francisco Torviso.
City commissioners unanimously approved plans by the joint venture to build two 38-story towers with 17,550 square feet for retail and 1,440 parking spaces on the corner between 11th and 12th streets across from the Brickell Metrorail station.
"A condition for this approval is the developer agrees to cooperate in relocating the historic building to another location," Ms. Slazyk said.
The developers agreed to donate $35,000 to for the relocation but commissioners have asked for more money. Gilberto Pastoriza, the developers' attorney and a partner with the law firm Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Guedes, said his clients were willing to cooperate.
If the move can not take place by January, the developers will be allowed to demolish the wooden structure and build Brickell Station, 1101 SW First Ave., Ms. Slazyk said.
"I think it's possible to move the school," said Pat Quintana, a manager with the city parks department. "But the building is too high to pass under the Metrorail. They will have to take a longer route. The Metrorail is the only thing that separates the school from the park."
The building, in need of a new roof and floor, will be a great addition to the park, Ms. Quintana said.
Arva Parks, historic preservation consultant, said relocating the school would cost at least $70,000.
"It was our first high school in Miami," she said. "It used to be called the high school bungalow."
Ms. Parks said water caused some damage to the structure but the key element in preserving it was finding a user.
Becky Roper Matkov, executive director of Dade Heritage Trust, said she applauded the city's initiative to tie the project's approval to preservation requirements. She said officials used to approve developments without looking at the historic value of structures.
"That is what happened when the city almost approved a project in the Lummus Park neighborhood a year ago," Ms. Matkov said.
Brickell Station will be built in two phases, according to documents. The first tower will have 359 units with 736 parking spaces. Twenty-eight floors will be for residents, 7 for parking, one for amenities and one for retail. Once the first building is complete, the second tower will go up, Mr. Pastoriza said.
Rental rates of the 718 units will range from $1,500 to $2,500 a month, according to the document. The project is expected to generate $3.7 million annually in taxes to local government, with $1.47 million going to the City of Miami.