Item Coversheet

City of Miami Beach, 1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33139,

 Item 15.

TO: Land Use and Sustainability Committee

FROM: Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: May 6, 2020



Discuss the item and continue to May 26, 2020.

Discuss and continue the item to May 26, 2020.


On April 22, 2020, at the request of Mayor Dan Gelber, the City Commission referred the item to the Land Use and Sustainability Committee (Item C4 F). The item was simultaneously referred to the Planning Board.


Miami Beach Marina Associates, Ltd., the lessee of the Miami Beach Marina (“Lessee”), and its affiliate Alton Road Mixed Use Investments, LLC (jointly, “Developer”), are proposing a public-private partnership with the City of Miami Beach to renegotiate the lease of the facility and make significant improvements to the Miami Beach Marina property. Specifically, the Developer is proposing to construct a residential building with approximately 60 units, totaling approximately 275,000 gross square feet, together with accessory commercial, retail, and office space totaling approximately 45,000 gross square feet. Notably, the Developer is proposing approximately 2 acres of publicly accessible open green space – including a park with substantial resiliency components. The Developer also proposes capital improvements including significant sea level rise and resiliency enhancements to the marina facilities together with the redevelopment of the upland portion of the marina.

The proposed extension of the marina lease would provide the City with a rare opportunity to improve the lease terms and deliver additional public benefits. This is because the existing Marina lease is otherwise in place for another thirty-two (32) years. The Administration is continuing to explore additional potential enhancements that can assist the City’s efforts in ensuring long-term resiliency. From a transactional perspective, the proposal includes a new lease with an extended term, and a development agreement which will provide for, and include, a sale of air rights. The lease and sale of air rights will each require voter referendum approval pursuant to the City Charter. Based upon ongoing assessments of information available at present, it is anticipated that an increase in FAR may be required to effectuate the proposal. Such an increase would require voter referendum approval pursuant to the City Charter.

The subject ordinance amends the development regulations for the CPS-4 district. A companion item is also on the LUSC agenda to consider a corresponding Comprehensive Plan amendment. Specifically, the Miami Beach Marina site at 300 Alton Road (the “Marina Site”) has a future land use designation of “Public Facilities (PF) Governmental Use.” The Comprehensive Plan amendment would modify the PF future land use designation to allow for “public-private marina redevelopments.”

The Marina Site has a zoning designation of “GU, Government Use” district. Pursuant to section 142-425, the development regulations for the GU district are an average of the development regulations (setbacks, floor area ratio, signs, parking, etc.) of the surrounding zoning districts. The sites immediately abutting the Marina Site have a “C-PS4, Intensive Mixed-Use Phased Bayside Commercial,” designation. As such the CPS-4 zoning district regulations will apply to the adjacent GU district.

The attached draft ordinance creates development regulations that would only apply to sites with a marina and a PF Future Land Use designation; the following is a summary of the proposed new regulations:

1) Provide for the potential increase of the maximum floor area ratio (FAR) to accommodate the proposal. (The actual amount of the increase depends upon further analysis more particularly explained below.)

2) Increase the height limit from 150 feet, to 225 or 285 feet. (The actual height will depend upon further analysis of various massing studies, as detailed below.)

3) Increase the height for allowable height exceptions from 25 feet to 30 feet.

4) Modify setbacks as follows:
• Increase the front setback from 0 feet to 5 feet.
• Increase the interior side setback from 7.5 feet to 20 feet.
• Maintain the 5-foot rear setback.

5) Allow floors containing parking to utilize non-use screening, as opposed to commercial and residential uses, on all frontages except the Alton Road frontage.

As the zoning designation of the site is GU, any development requires City Commission approval. Additionally, for private or joint government/private uses, such as this, Planning Board review is also required pursuant to City Code Section 142-423. Ultimately, if the various Project components are approved by the City Commission and the voters in a City-wide referendum, the design of the project will require Design Review Board approval.

The most significant parts of the CPS-4 LDR amendments proposed are the increases in height and potential FAR amendments. The Developer of the site has been studying numerous options regarding the dimensions of both the tower and pedestal portions of the proposed new structure to limit impacts.

Building Height
The average height for waterfront buildings along the Alton Road corridor to the south of 5th Street is 301 feet. The following are the building heights of adjacent structures:

1) Icon at South Beach – 450 Alton Road: 423 feet

2) Murano Grande – 400 Alton Road: 407 feet

3) Rebecca Tower North – 200 Alton Road: 115 feet

4) Rebecca Tower South – 150 Alton Road: 115 feet

5) The Yacht Club – 90 Alton Road: 341 feet

6) Murano – 1000 South Pointe Drive: 402 feet

As such, the height range of 225 to 285 feet being contemplated is compatible with existing, surrounding buildings, given the existing context of taller residential structures along the east side of Alton Road / South Pointe Drive. Planning staff believes that conceptually, a taller tower that has a substantially reduced width would be a better design direction than a shorter but broader building with a height of 225 feet. In this regard, the proposed maximum height of 285 feet is well below most of the existing residential structures along the east side of Alton Road / South Pointe Drive. The Developer’s team is studying various design options with different dimensions for the pedestal and the tower.

Additionally, the current site, although composed of an uninspired array of surface parking and an awkward commercial building (Monty’s), does allow for a significant light, air and view corridor. This view corridor is experienced both from the water side, as well as from most of the South Pointe area to the immediate east of the site. A taller, slender structure would allow for a much more substantial light and air corridor on the site. Further, a narrower tower and a smaller building footprint creates more opportunities for ground level open space. The modified setbacks and frontage requirements proposed also provide greater opportunities for open space.

Floor Are Ratio (FAR)
By way of baseline context, the Developer is proposing a residential tower with accessory commercial space, comprised of approximately 60 units and 320,000 square feet of development on the site. Ongoing study of the Marina Site and its adjacent parcels may impact the total available floor area on the site.

The FAR calculations for this site are complicated by an apparent transfer of +/-174,000 square feet of floor area to the Murano Grande and Icon Projects from the Marina Site as part of the Development Agreement executed in 1986 by and between the City, the Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency, and South Shore Developers, Inc. (the “SSDI DA”). The SSDI DA -- together with a series of City development actions throughout the 1980s – combined to form links resulting in the successful transformation of the South of Fifth neighborhood. By operation of the transfer, there is information to suggest that the FAR on the Marina Site may be less than the maximum zoned FAR of 2.5 permitted at present under the City’s Land Development Regulations. Consequently, an FAR increase may be necessary to accommodate the proposed building and to account for, and offset, the previous transfer of FAR.

Staff would like to emphasize that the overall square footage proposed is modest and suitably scaled when measured against the existing, as-built neighborhood context established by Murano, The Yacht Club Portofino, Murano Grande, and Icon. The Developer is reviewing a number of factors related to the calculation of available floor area on the site, including the lengthy and complex entitlement history, ownership patterns, past rezoning, building permit records, transfer of development rights, and other land use issues that have arisen over the last thirty-five (35) years. Staff is continuing to discuss the project’s FAR issues with the Developer and recommends bringing this matter back to the Committee for final review, following further study of historical zoning and legal issues.


Any increase in FAR would require the approval of the City’s voters in accordance with City Charter Section 1.03(c) which, in pertinent part, provides as follows:

The floor area ratio of any property or street end within the City of Miami Beach shall not be increased by zoning, transfer, or any other means from its current zoned floor area ratio as it exists on the date of adoption of this Charter Amendment [November 7, 2001], including any limitations on floor area ratios which are in effect by virtue of development agreements through the full term of such agreements, unless such increase in zone floor area ratio for any such property shall first be approved by a vote of the electors of the City of Miami Beach.


The Administration recommends the following:

1. The Land Use and Sustainability Committee discuss the proposal and provide a recommendation and policy direction as it pertains to the height, scale, massing and site plan of the proposal.

2. Continue the item to the May 26, 2020 LUSC meeting to allow the Administration and the Developer to confirm the final FAR calculations for the project.

Applicable Area

South Beach
Is this a "Residents Right to Know" item, pursuant to City Code Section 2-14? Does this item utilize G.O. Bond Funds?
Yes No 


Draft LDR ORDMemo
Area MAPMemo