North Beach Yard Lease Approved

North Shore

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

North Beach Yard Lease Approved:

concept continues on fast track

Miami Beach Commissioners this week approved an initial five-year lease for the proposed North Beach Yard, a culinary and retail incubator based on the successful Wynwood Yard.
 
City Tourism, Culture, and Economic Development Director, Eva Silverstein, noted in presenting the lease proposal, “For the past four years, North Beach has been a main focal point for city investment and, really, regeneration of that neighborhood.”  Commissioner Ricky Arriola has championed the idea as part of those efforts.
 
The Wynwood Yard offers food and beverage entrepreneurs the opportunity to test concepts with a lower cost of entry by utilizing food trucks and pop-up materials. The food yard also hosts live music and other cultural activities, fitness classes, yoga, art, and gardening classes, all showcasing local entrepreneurs. Wynwood Yard founder, Della Heiman, told Commissioners the concept will be tweaked to meet the unique needs of the North Beach community and “will include a big focus on children’s programming … We’re also contemplating a cooking school and we’re contemplating round the clock fitness activities.”  The proposed location for North Beach Yard is on one of the City-owned West Lots at 81st Street and Collins Avenue.
 
In Wynwood, Heiman said there are 15 entrepreneurs operating businesses. “We’ve had about ten more cycle through already and a lot of them are operating brick and mortar operations around the City.”
 
Arriola noted, “You graduated some of your tenants to brick and mortar operations which is part of the vision of the North Beach Yard because we’re trying to renovate and reinvigorate North Beach. We incubate in your Yard and then they go into permanent homes – somewhere in North Beach, hopefully.
 
Heiman is looking to jumpstart “between 30 and 35 businesses, all in the areas of food, beverage, retail and fitness” in North Beach.
 
The initial lease is for a five-year term with two, two-year renewable options. In the first year, North Beach Yard would pay $1 in rent with no proceeds going to the City. In the second year, the City would receive 2.5% of rental receipts received by North Beach Yard from the subcontractors, mostly food vendors, that will operate there and who will pay a management fee to The Yard. In subsequent years, the City’s percentage would increase to 5%.
 
The operators have proposed contributing about $2.5 million to the venture according to a memo from City Manager Jimmy Morales. In addition, the operators would cover all operating expenses, including real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and utilities as well as design, permitting, and construction/installation costs of all temporary or permanent facilities. They have requested the City contribute $750,000 for necessary infrastructure improvements.
 
The lease also includes hours of operation, which were adjusted slightly by the Commission. The proposed lease considered Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as weekend days with food and beverage service until midnight and a closing time of no later than 1 am. After objections from Commissioner Joy Malakoff, weekend days were amended to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Weekday operations would be until 11 pm with a closing of no later than 11:30 pm and will include Monday through Thursday.
 
Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez expressed concern about potential noise and asked for an exit clause in the event of noise violations. “I love the idea of the North Beach Yard. I’m very excited about it,” she said but added, “We need to protect the people living next door to it.”
 
City Attorney, Raul Aguila, said the lease was drafted to address the concerns of the neighborhood with a “habitual default provision” allowing the City to declare the lease in default if there are three or more noise violations during any twelve-month period. “I don’t put that in all my leases,” he said. “That’s a very stringent remedy for a landlord to have so … I feel that that’s an extraordinary remedy.”
 
Rosen Gonzales said, “I’m all for it. I want to see it successful. I just want to make sure we have an out just in case.”
 
“Your business model is not to upset neighbors,” Arriola said to Heiman.
 
Heiman replied, “Our goal is to help make the neighborhood more cohesive, more vibrant, and just increase the quality of life.” With regard to potential early morning activities, she said the thought is to offer café service and fitness activities, not music.
 
There are still some land use issues to finalize and formal budget approval, but the North Beach Yard continues down the fast track to launching. Arriola said he hopes to have a full presentation for the Commission in September, including design concepts by acclaimed new urbanist Andres Duany, who joined the team earlier in the summer.
 
 

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