Three projects added to Miami River pipeline
By Deserae del Campo
Three projects are about to join the approximately 16,000 residential units under construction or in the pipeline along the Miami River.
"This city has its own jewel, the Miami River, and it was only a matter of time before it would be escalated to its proper place," said Lissette Calderon, CEO of Neo Epoch whose Neo Vertika and Neo Lofts projects were among the first along the waterway. "It only made sense seeing the public sector's commitment, for example, in terms of dredging and the river walk for us in the private sector to complement it with a residential component.
"Now that our fourth project has launched, it's an honor to be credited with the Miami River's renaissance although it was not only us but also the visionaries that believed in what we were doing," she said.
The Miami River area is broken into three sections: downtown, from Biscayne Bay to the Northwest Fifth Street Bridge; residential, from the bridge to Northwest 22nd Avenue; and shipping and marine industrial, west of 22nd Avenue. Residential projects are concentrated in the downtown and residential sections. The residential section includes historic neighborhoods and parks, where one project is planned.
Miami River Place, 710-720 NW North River Dr., is to include 16 condos and 36 parking spaces and stand five stories. The project is awaiting a Class II building permit. The project received approval from the Miami River Commission in an 11-2 vote, with board members Ernie Martin and Sally Jude dissenting.
"In Spring Garden, a day before we held the meeting, I met with the architects and attorney Mario Garcia-Serra," said Mr. Martin, "and they made the presentation on the project, and I thought it was a good project.
"But the Spring Garden association was angry about construction being done in the neighborhood and with all the dust, noise and dirt. So our neighborhood association did not support the project, and I voted against it," Mr. Martin said.
Ms. Jude, who represents East Little Havana, said she dissented out of concern for the historic character of her neighborhood. "The quality of life changes once projects start to build in area close to an historic neighborhood," she said.
The Historic and Environmental Preservation Board and the Urban Development Review Board must approve the project before a permit is granted, said Mario Garcia-Serra, attorney representing developer Ward International Trading Company LLC.
City commissioners approved Neo Epoch's fourth project, Cima, for a major use special permit in December 2004. Cima is a 52-story luxury-condo project with 507 units planned for Northwest Third Street and South Miami Avenue. Construction is scheduled to begin in November.
Cima is a part of River Front, a planned gated community along the river that is to include six high-rise condominiums with nearly 2,000 residential units, more than 60,000 square feet of retail space and 200,000 square feet of office space.
"In Spanish, 'cima' translates to 'the summit' or 'the top,'" said Ms. Calderon. "I see Cima as the ultimate living experience. It epitomizes every aspect of luxury, with every unit oriented in such a way as to afford inspiring views of the Miami River, Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline."
Prices in Cima range from $460,000 to $850,000.
The Miami River Rapids mixed-use development recently gained unanimous support from the river commission. The next step for a major use special permit is approval from Miami's zoning board and the City Commission. The planning and zoning board approved the project June 7.
Miami River Rapids, planned for 1701, 1801, 1825 and 1851 Delaware Parkway and 2990 NW South River Dr., includes four buildings ranging from 134 feet to 153 feet in height, 1,590 units, 65,852 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 2,200 parking spaces.
Owner of the property is A+ Mini Storage Airport East LLC. The principal is Mike Nunez. He was unavailable for comment.