5775 Collins Ave Developer Proposes Changes

Oceanfront

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

5775 Collins Ave Developer Proposes Changes:

public beach access, greater side setback

After months of tension and a 3.5 hour hearing before the Design Review Board, the developer of the 5775 Collins Avenue property has proposed two key design changes: a public beach access and greater side setback to the south.
 
While the owner had reached agreement with the properties to the north and south – Villa di Mare and L’Excellence – regarding the building’s design and orientation on the site, residents of the Royal Embassy across the street have fought for a public beach access through the property and increased view corridors.
 
In an emailed statement, owner’s attorney Michael Larkin said, “Following the hearing, the applicant listened to the concerns of both the staff and the board and has acted accordingly.”
 
“First and foremost, the applicant is creating public beach access through a linear park, complete with lamp posts and benches,” he wrote. “This will be a 15-foot-wide path – designed with a slight curvature and comprising a five-foot-wide walkway, flanked by extensive landscaping along the south and north sides.”
 
The walkway will be located on the south side of the property, “putting it closest to the lifeguard station on the beach,” according to Larkin.
 
In addition, the building’s width has been reduced five feet resulting in a new setback of 46.5 feet. “By implementing this change, the applicant has created a greater view corridor than what was previously offered: an expansive 103 feet of distance between the proposed 5775 Collins building and the neighboring building to the south,” Larkin said.
 
Residents of the Royal Embassy had sought to have the building rotated 90 degrees as a means of more closely resembling the view corridors provided by the Marlborough House which has stood on the site for more than 50 years. Marlborough House sits perpendicular to Collins Avenue, while the proposed building is parallel. At the DRB meeting last month, architect Architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica and Larkin both said the positioning of the building put the most emphasis on the views of the immediate neighbors to the north and south. Turning it, Larkin said, would result in an even larger group of residents opposed to the project at the next meeting “so that is not an option for us at all.”
 
Cesar Buia, a Royal Embassy resident and member of its Board, said, “We applaud the developers for finally adding pedestrian beach access to their renderings. This was certainly the right thing to do – from day one.”  Acknowledging the greater side setback, Buia said, “We're not celebrating quite yet, however, as we should not lose sight that they seemingly ignored the advice of several of the Design Review Board members by not coming back with substantive changes that preserve two important view corridors along Collins Avenue. The developer should still rotate the building or at minimum increase each side set back to 50% as recommended by the planning department.”
 
DRB members encouraged Fort-Brescia to think a little more creatively in the design. As part of the new proposal, the design has been modified slightly, “now accented with a subtle ripple/undulation, one that gives the exterior of the building a more asymmetrical design,” according to Larkin.
 
The item is expected to be back on the DRB agenda in December.

Images: Arquitectonica


 

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