Commission Seeks Proposal for West Lots

North Shore

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Commission Seeks Proposal for West Lots:

master plan would include log cabin location

Miami Beach Commissioners voted to seek a proposal from Dover Kohl, the firm that created the North Beach Master Plan, for a master planning process for the City-owned West Lots. The parcels make up eight acres along Collins Avenue in North Beach. Some contain parking areas, others are vacant lots. One, between 81st and 82nd Streets, is proposed as the site of the North Beach Yard, a culinary and cultural pop-up that is expected to open next year. The North Beach log cabin, which currently sits on the site of the proposed Yard, is now being dismantled and stored until a future location and funding can be found. Commissioner Ricky Arriola who suggested the planning process for the West Lots said a master plan should include community discussion on where the cabin could be located in the future.
 
The lots were included in the North Beach Master Plan but at more of a high level. Arriola said, “The West Lots are, I think, the largest … unencumbered contiguous lots that the City owns in the entire City. A major point of the [North Beach] Master Plan was to somehow program and activate and do something with these lots. Short of us coming up with ideas on an ad hoc basis, I thought it would be wise if we reengaged the master planner, Dover Kohl, to specifically look at the West Lots, do their community charrette process, engage the community, have discussions about how do we imagine the West Lots to be rolled out.”
 
“My fear is if we don’t do this, they’ll sit there for another decade or two and nothing will get done,” he said. He suggested the plan be completed by June 1 so the City could include any proposals in a General Obligation Bond slated for next November and to provide some comfort for preservationists on a timeline for making a decision on where a restored log cabin will be located.
 
“I’d also recommend they come back with a plan to envision no less than 60% and upwards of 70% of the West Lots for public purpose, meaning not come back with a plan that envisions pure private development but that we endeavor to have more than a majority of the West Lots with some sort of public purpose, which is parks or for community activities or for public benefit,” Arriola said.
 
Commissioner John Alemán said, “We will never again have an asset like this, eight consecutive City blocks undeveloped. The potential of this is endless so I just want to not get through this moment without saying our objective isn’t just to fill these up. If we can’t think of something that is stellar then I will vote no. Let’s wait until we think of that thing. Because we will never, never, never get these lots back. I don’t want to stick residential condos on them because we can’t think of anything better to do.”
 
Arriola responded, “That’s why I was pushing for a majority of them going to public purpose and [the] June 1st [date] is to give us time. If we have these amazing concepts, they’re going to cost money. And if we’re going to go to the market in November our best shot of getting a big tranche of money to develop these lots will be with that GO bond. Otherwise we’ll have aspirational pie in the sky plans that we can never fund.”
 
Commissioners voted to ask Dover Kohl for a proposal and if the pricing is acceptable to engage them to create a plan.
 
 
 

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