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Florida Law Speeds Demolition Of Iconic Buildings in Miami Beach

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A new law in Florida limits the ability of municipalities to prevent the demolition of aging coastal buildings, including architectural icons that have been granted local historical status.

The Resiliency and Safe Structures Act, recently signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, strips local municipalities of their authority to ban, restrict or prevent the demolition of non-conforming and unsafe structures.

Supporters of the bill say it addresses the safety challenges of aging condo towers in the wake of the deadly 2021 Champlain Towers South collapse, which killed 98 people.

The law creates exceptions for buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places, but it notably does not exempt municipal historic designations, which potentially could have a major impact on iconic buildings in Miami Beach.

The new law effectively strips the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board of its power to decide whether historic structures can be demolished and, if a building is going to be knocked down, whether some elements of its design must be preserved or replicated.

The new law allows owners to demolish buildings in high-risk coastal flood zones if local officials deem the structures unsafe or if the buildings don’t conform to the base flood elevation requirements set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The law targets oceanfront buildings along a “coastal construction control line,” which delineates how close developers can build to the coast.

Preservationists are warning that numerous Miami Modernist-style resorts along Collins Avenue in the Mid Beach and North Beach neighborhoods of Miami Beach now on the wrong side of the control line-and most of these historic properties don’t conform to FEMA’s latest elevation requirements.

Lawmakers who supported the Resiliency and Safe Structures Act—which sailed through the state legislature by a 36-2 margin in the Florida Senate and 86-29 in the House—say the measure is long-overdue, not just to address safety concerns but to reign in the power of local preservation boards.


Source:  GlobeSt.

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Developers Looking To Buy Commercial Sites Due To New Legislation

Developers are analyzing how to take advantage of Florida’s new legislation, which will set aside over $700 million in funding, create tax breaks, and provide zoning-related incentives for affordable and workforce housing developments.

The law could contribute to a new boom in housing development, from entirely affordable buildings to mixed-income towers on commercial sites that developers are now looking to purchase, experts say.

The Live Local Act, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed aims to help fill financing gaps, making more developments economically feasible. What is still crucial, attorneys and developers said, is combining that with incentives on the local level.

“These incentive programs, in conjunction with working cities and municipalities — that’s the way you’re going to fill a void and a gap and a huge need,” said Brian Sidman, of Miami Beach-based Redwood Dev Co. “The problem isn’t going to be solved by developers buying private land. That ship has sailed due to the cost of private land.” 

Still, Sidman called the legislation “a great start,” and applauded DeSantis and the Florida Legislature.

“If we don’t fix our housing crisis, we’ll have other material programs that will trickle down,” he said.

Redwood is analyzing the SAIL (State Apartment Incentive Loan) program to see which of its projects could secure low-interest loans for workforce housing. Redwood, which has more than 1,500 units in the pipeline in South Florida, aims to build more than 5,000 affordable and/or workforce units over the next five to seven years. It recently broke ground on Mosaic, a 98-unit development in Opa-locka.

The new legislation sets aside $259 million in SAIL funds. It also promises $252 million in SHIP (State Housing Initiatives Program) funding to incentivize local governments to partner with developers preserving or building new housing.

The law goes into effect July 1. Developers are expected to apply for incentives this summer, and receive funds next year.



Source:  The Real Deal

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