By Eric Kalis
A Miami developer planning a 56-story mixed-use tower downtown will have to convince city commissioners that the project would not be a detriment to surrounding neighborhoods.
The city's planning advisory board denied by a 7-1 vote last week a major use special permit for developer Nickel Goeseke of Cervera Real Estate to begin construction on Columbus Centre, a 710-foot tower with 700,000 square feet of residential, retail and hotel space on less than 1 acre at Southwest 15th Road and South Miami Avenue.
The developer still could obtain a permit with a majority vote from the city commission, tentatively scheduled to discuss the issue April 26.
The planning department staff recommended approval of the $490 million project.
"We will definitely go forward to the commission and look at the project to see how to best address some of the concerns," Mr. Goeseke said Tuesday.
The project site is in a zoning district that has no height restrictions. But board members say a tower would create an awkward transition into nearby residential neighborhoods and Simpson Park.
"The main thing was that the project is out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood," said board chairwoman Arva Moore Parks. "One Broadway [a residential tower] across the street moved back the building to make a better transition."
The planning advisory board initially delayed voting on the request for a building permit so the development team could meet with nearby neighborhood associations and modify project plans. Mr. Goeseke reduced the building's height by five stories and removed 54 of 507 residential and hotel units from the plans. But it was not enough to sway the board.
If approved by city commissioners, the tower would be one of Miami's tallest. The Four Seasons Hotel on Brickell Avenue is the tallest at 794 feet.
"This is an urban city that is growing," Mr. Goeseke said. "Ten years from now, this project could be considered a fantastic addition."