Photo:Flagler on the River was developed under Miami's new zoning laws.
Miami takes a new approach to zoning
In 2010, after five years of planning, Miami adopted a new zoning code, Miami 21. Enacted during the real estate recession, the code has only begun to seriously impact development during the last couple of years.
For those used to thinking of zoning in terms of usage and density, parking requirements and height limitations, Miami 21 is proving to be a radical departure.
The zoning code focuses on the look and feel of neighborhoods, with an emphasis on walkable urban neighborhoods throughout most of the city. It covers how buildings, sidewalks and transportation corridors interact and encourages a mix of retail, office and residential elements in each neighborhood to minimize the need for cars. The code addresses the scale of streets and blocks, along with transitions between high-intensity and low-intensity development.
“It’s just a completely different code and speaks a different language than folks in the industry are used to,” says Javier Avino, a partner in law firm Bilzin Sumberg’s land development and government relations group.
The new requirements can make it more difficult for a developer to look at a plot of land and determine how much can be built on it, for example.
“It’s harder, until you get more into actually designing a project, to know how many units or how much actual square footage you’re going to be able to develop on the site,” Avino says.
But in many ways Miami 21 is simpler than the old code, with fewer zoning designations and fewer possible deviations and variances, which are now approved or rejected through an administrative process, rather than a public hearing.
Miami 21’s designers — including then-mayor Manny Diaz and architect Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, a leader of the New Urbanism movement — envision it as more than a regulatory code.
“It really was intended to be a holistic approach, a ‘close your eyes and envision what you want Miami to look like in 10 years, 25 years, 50 years,’ ” Diaz says.
CORAL GABLES — Indianapolis based Anthem paid a reported $1 billion to purchase managed care company Simply Healthcare Holdings. > An affliate of Prudential Real Estate Investors paid $50.2 million for the 550 Biltmore office building, which has 162,520 square feet of leasable space, 250 covered parking spaces, a café and a health club.
DORAL — Hospitality management firm Accor consolidated its Dallas and New York City operations into a single North America, Central America and Caribbean headquarters in the city. > Chicago-based Reyes Beverage Group acquired Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, Florida’s largest beer distributor, for an undisclosed sum; the acquisition makes Reyes the largest beer distributor in the U. S. > Carnival ordered two cruise ships — one for Carnival Cruise Line and one for Holland America Line.
KEY LARGO — Marina Inn Land paid $20 million to purchase the Marina Inn property in the Ocean Reef Club; it plans to develop 30 condominiums on the three-acre waterfront property.
MIAMI — Investment company China Communications Construction paid $74.7 million to acquire a 2.4-acre block in the Brickell district from an affliate of Cabi Developers. > The city commission authorized a bond deal that will pay for $16 million in improvements to the Miami Marine Stadium and the 15 acres around it, preparing the abandoned stadium to host the Miami International Boat Show in 2016. > The Miami- Dade County commission voted to give $9 million to Sky Rise Miami, a 1,000-foot-tall observation tower planned next to Bayside Marketplace and the American Airlines Arena. > The Southeast Overtown/Park West community Redevelopment Agency approved $88 million in incentives for the Miami World center mixed-use project. The incentives, which will be paid out over 12 years, will fund infrastructure and parking. > New York-based KAR Properties paid an undisclosed sum for an acre in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood; the company had already acquired three parcels along the Miami River during 2014. > Optimum USA Brickell 2 paid $24.8 million to purchase the 60-room, two-floor Starlight Motel in the city’s Brickell district.
MIAMI BEACH — The Miami- Dade County Commission agreed to extend by 22 years a special taxing district in the northern part of South Beach. The move will keep $570 million in property taxes in the area to finance renovations of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The city commission voted to hold a vote in November to determine whether to approve the lease of city land for an 800- room hotel at the Miami Beach Convention Center. > Nakash Holdings, which is controlled by the founders of Jordache Enterprises, purchased the 120- room Setai Hotel for about $90 million. Nakash owns five other hotels in South Beach.
MIAMI-DADE — Doral-based Easton Group paid $17.15 million to buy office buildings in Doral and Miami’s Blue Lagoon area from Southampton N.V.
SUNNY ISLES BEACH — A joint venture between Miami-based Fortune International Group and Hallandale Beach-based Château Group plans the Ritz- Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach. Ritz-Carlton licensed its name to the project and will manage the property.
> Christine Duffy has been named president of Carnival Cruise Line. She had been president of the Cruise Lines International Association.
> Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings promoted Frank Del Rio to president and CEO, replacing Kevin Sheehan, who resigned. Del Rio had been CEO of Prestige Cruises International, which Norwegian recently acquired.
> Property management firm Rivergate/KW Management hired Marcie Williams as president. She was an executive with Greystar.
> Pérez Art Museum Miami Director Thom Collins will leave in March to become head of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Leann Standish, PAMM’s deputy director for external affairs, will be interim director while the museum searches for a new director.
Jim McKelvey, co-founder of mobile payment platform Square, has expanded his non-profit Launch Code technology education and apprenticeship program to Miami in the hopes of combating a local shortage of skilled tech workers. Launch Code places inexperienced developers into paid apprenticeships. It works with people in different age groups who often have few programming skills.
Miami is Launch Code’s first foray outside of McKelvey’s St. Louis hometown, and the small Miami team is working to sign up employers before it begins recruiting people.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has given Launch Code a $1.26-million, three year grant to help fund the Miami program.
100 Total air carriers serving Miami International Airport (includes scheduled and charter passenger and cargo carriers)
8 New airlines added during 2014
99th and 100th Finn air and Frontier Airlines rounded out the 100.
Source: Miami International Airport