In a prime location in the new North Beach Town Center sits the City-owned Byron Carlyle Theater, an older structure that one member of the Mayor’s North Beach Committee called “obsolete”. Even Adrian Morales, Miami Beach Director of Property Management, who is working with the theater’s operators to correct some of the building’s issues said, “Sometimes the building looks abandoned.”
Operated by O Cinema, the building experiences flooding problems, a leaking roof, and A/C issues according to Morales. Following a preliminary evaluation of the site recently, he has noted issues that the City believes the operator should correct. He also plans a full site evaluation within the next 30-45 days.
The North Beach Committee put the item on its agenda for discussion this week with several members expressing a desire to see a greater use of what they believe is an underutilized building. Carolina Jones, who Chairs the City’s Parks and Recreational Facilities Advisory Board, added the item to her group’s next agenda to review options for after school or summer activation.
Daniel Veitia said, “O Cinema continues to struggle to bring people there.” While noting “it’s obsolete,” he said any major renovations would trigger the 50% rule, requiring the structure be brought up to code which would be an expensive undertaking. He suggested the City “put it out to market.” The ideal situation, he said, would be to offer a long-term lease in exchange for City services such as a theater or library or other community related services. With the amount of activity going on in the Town Center, Veitia said, “Now might be the time for developers to look at it.”
The Committee unanimously passed a motion to “urge the City Commission to issue an RFP for development of the Byron Carlyle Theater site and include within the RFP requirements for a theater and community facility.”
Last month, in a letter to Commissioner Joy Malakoff regarding the proposed development at the nearby City National Bank site, Neisen Kasdin who represents the owner and developer, said his client would be interested in redeveloping the Byron Carlyle property “if given such an opportunity”. Noting the North Beach Master Plan identified the theater “as a prime location for a ‘catalyst project’ to spur redevelopment in the Town Center”, Kasdin wrote his client believes the Byron Carlyle “could be an excellent opportunity to stretch the vibrancy of new retail activity created by the [City National Bank] Project westward along 71st Street, and to construct new civic space to house the needs of the City (artistic, cultural, etc.).”
The recommendation of the North Beach Committee has been submitted to the City Commission via a Letter to Commission.