Brickell's Villa Magna gets name change, more focus on commercial
By Eric Kalis
The focus of the bayfront Villa Magna project has shifted yet again, this time from residential and hotel components to a major mixed-use development that uses restaurants and retail to draw interest in other project elements.
The architect for a group of Spanish investors who partnered with developer Tibor Hollo to plan the luxury residential and hotel project Villa Magna unveiled modified plans to a City of Miami board last week — without Mr. Hollo — for the Brickell Bay Drive site and a neighboring property.
Whether Mr. Hollo is still involved in the project, which is no longer called Villa Magna, or the owner of the property is unclear. Phone calls to Mr. Hollo were not returned by press time.
The 1201 Brickell Bay Drive property would still have 326 luxury condominiums, said Suria Yaffar, principal at architectural firm Zyscovich, which is the local architect for both the former Villa Magna site and nearby 1390 Brickell Bay Drive. Spanish architect Segui and Partners is the lead architect for both projects.
Revised plans for 1201 Brickell Bay Drive call for an increase of hotel suites from 198 to 216, Ms. Yaffar said, and adding 93,000 square feet of commercial space and 18,000 of bayfront restaurant space. The 1390 Brickell Bay Drive project is to include 88 condos, 135,000 square feet of office space and 37,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, she said.
Spanish majority investors Grupo Pedro Iglesias, which bought the 1390 Brickell Bay Drive property for $35 million in January, is behind the shift. The change in strategy appealed to the city's Urban Development Review Board, Ms. Yaffar said, which voted 4-0 in favor of amending the major use special permits for both properties. The city's zoning and planning advisory board will eventually make recommendations to city commissioners, who will vote on the amendments.
"The board was pleased to see that we increased the retail space and added an office component," she said.
Attempts failed to contact principals from Grupo Pedro Iglesias.