A mixed-use residential project planned for the east side of the Wynwood Arts District, near Midtown and Edgewater, was denied by the City of Miami’s Urban Development Review Board.
Developer-owner Newcomb Properties #2 LLC plans to build Wynwood Station at 45 NE 27th St.
But the board voted unanimously Nov. 17 to deny the project, after voicing numerous concerns including the massing of the building, location of a trash chute, location of elevators, design of the parking levels and ramps, the width of a covered walkway, the size of a courtyard and more.
Board member Ignacio Permuy said of the project, “It’s a good start but it’s just not there yet.”
Total size of the floor area for Wynwood Station is 331,846 square feet.
The planned eight-story building would be home to 210 dwellings, 11,152 square feet of commercial-retail uses, and parking for up to 283 vehicles in an adjacent screened garage.
The development site is on Northeast 27th Street, south of Northeast 28th Street and east of North Miami Avenue. The contiguous mid-block site is in the northeast quadrant of Wynwood, near the Florida East Coast Railway line.
The applicant is FRC Realty Inc., represented by attorney Steve Wernick.
In a letter to the city, he said the plan is “to redevelop this former industrial yard into a mixed-use multi-family residential project that will activate NE 27th Street and contribute to the ongoing transformation of Wynwood into a 24/7 mixed use walkable neighborhood.”
The project was designed by MSA Architects Inc.
Zoning allows up to five stories by right and eight stories with bonus height. A future land use designation permits a wide range of residential and non-residential uses up to 150 units per acre across the properties, Mr. Wernick said.
“The property is a sprawling industrial yard and currently used as a Sunbelt construction equipment rental and storage facility. The existing conditions impose a hard-edge intent on bufferingthe site from the public realm and pedestrians on the sidewalk. It is a site that is quite reminiscent of Wynwood’s former self as an industrial warehouse district, with few trees or shade from the elements,” he said.
Mr. Wernick wrote, “NE 27th Street is a unique street as the link between Wynwood & Edgewater and thus acts as an eastern gateway into the arts district planned for greater pedestrian orientation in the Wynwood Streetscape Master Plan.
“NE 28th Street in its current condition functions as an oversized industrial alley, with little to no right of way improvements and much narrower than a standard right of way in Wynwood,” he said.
Mr. Wernick said the project gives considerable attention to the public realm in the area, including introducing a cross-block paseo connection that will provide much greater mobility and accessibility.
“With the required right of way dedication contemplated with the project, the project will greatly improve and activate NE 28th Street,” he said.
The property is also steps from the intersection of Northeast 27th Street and the FEC Northeast Corridor, the anticipated location for a future commuter rail station that has not yet been approved.
Mr. Wernick said FRC Realty Inc. is an affiliate of Fifield Holdings. Founded in 1977 by Steven Fifield and headquartered in Chicago, Fifield is a national real estate developer with expertise in land acquisition, structured finance, construction management, architecture and design, and asset management.
Over the past four decades, Fifield has developed more than 13,000 residential units and 8.7 million square feet of commercial projects – in markets from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Mr. Wernick noted that the developer had already presented the plan to the Wynwood Design Review Committee and the plan they were showing the city’s review board “has changed significantly” based on comments from the Wynwood committee.
Review board members questioned why the developer’s team would go before the city board before making a planned return before the Wynwood committee.
And some board members said they preferred the look of the planned building seen in earlier renderings, before the changes.
Board Chair Willy Bermello said, “I don’t think you’ve improved this at all … It’s a big building with no statement as to its entrance.
“I’d also like to see what you did the first time. I’m not impressed with what you currently have,” he said.
Board member Anthony Tzamtzis said, “I have many issues with the building, so many I don’t know where to start from.”
Board member Neil Hall said, “I would have loved to see the first design that you did, and which caused you to rework the entire scheme. The scheme presented here today, I’m not in tune with it. I’m getting no positive vibe. I would have liked for us to have the opportunity to react to the first one.”
Mr. Wernick responded, “We feel a little like a ping-pong ball,” and that scheduling issues complicated matters.
After the board voted to recommend denial, Mr. Bermello said hopefully the board would see the developer back with a refined plan, after again meeting with the Wynwood Design Review Committee and continuing to work with city staff.
Source: Miami Today