Design Review Board Preview: June

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Design Review Board Preview: June:

north shore open space park and 5775 collins avenue

Design Review Board Preview
Tuesday, June 6, 8:30 am
City Hall, Commission Chambers
Full agenda

Two items of note on the agenda:
North Shore Open Space Park
Overall design concept for the Park renovation  was approved by the DRB in March.

Needing further refinement and Board discussion is the fencing along Collins Avenue, playground equipment, and the park lighting plan. Plan details here.
5775 Collins Avenue, Marlborough House
Area residents are not happy with the initial proposal for a new 18 story residential building (image above) to replace the existing 12 story Marlborough House. City staff isn’t happy with it either and is recommending the discussion be continued to a future meeting date “for further design development.”
The oceanfront property is located in an RM-3 district – residential, multi-family high intensity. The allowable height for the property is 200 feet and 22 stories. The proposed project is 200 feet with 18 stories. Designed by Arquitectonica Architecture and Interior Design, it includes 86 units with the required 185 parking spaces.
The existing building, Marlborough House, was built in 1962 and was designed by Giller, Payne & Waxman Architects “in a simplistic Miami Modern style.” It stands 111 feet and has 107 units.
In a memo to the DRB, Staff said the project does not satisfy a number of criteria including having “orientation and massing which is sensitive to and compatible with the building site and surrounding area and which creates or maintains important view corridor(s). The proposed orientation of the structure has a negative impact on the overall site plan and design … Staff recommends rotating the building orientation to allow for more expansive view corridors.”
The current building is rectangular and is oriented east to west, perpendicular to Collins Avenue while the proposed structure “is oriented parallel to the street and broadsides the beach,” according to the Staff memo. Acknowledging the proposed building meets all setback requirements, “[S]taff is concerned with the general orientation and massing of the subject proposal on the oceanfront site and the loss of the established northern and southern view corridors created by the generous setbacks of the existing building that has stood for nearly 55 years. … [The] proposed plan is set parallel to the beach, effectively cutting off Collins Avenue and blocking vistas to and breezes from the Atlantic Ocean. The proposed new structure, which is greater in height than the existing Marlborough House, will effectively broadside the Ocean, reinforcing the ‘Condo Canyon’ effect notably seen along portions of Collins Avenue by building the tower from the side setback line to side setback line.”
As a result, Staff is recommending the architect “reorient” the building on the site, include greater side setbacks than proposed, and “refine the hard edge condition of the balcony design to soften the massing upon Collins Avenue.” While recognizing the desire for the best possible water views, the memo states, “in reorienting the building, most, if not all units, will still have full views to the Atlantic Ocean and beach.
In addition, Staff is encouraging creation of a public beach access. Currently the nearest beach access is about 2,800 feet away. According to the memo, “If provided, the proposed beach connection would offer a public benefit for the residents of approximately 715 apartment units contained in the five residential buildings on the western side of Collins Avenue within a short 5-minute walk (1,320 FT) to the subject site. That would greatly reduce unnecessary vehicular beach bound trips and parking congestion by eliminating the necessity to drive to the closest City public parking area of the City, Lot P72 located north of the Imperial House condominium (5255 Collins Avenue), in order to enjoy public beach access.”
Finally, Staff expressed concern with regard to plans for two subterranean parking levels in the proposal believing they conflict with the City’s efforts to create new construction standards to combat sea level rise. “While there are design benefits to placing parking underground and eliminating a parking pedestal, most notably the elimination of an unsightly parking structure, subterranean parking conflicts with the City’s support of new building standards to mitigate the impact of sea level rise.” They note a Code Amendment that would prohibit below grade parking is currently before the City Commission.
Residents of five neighboring buildings – Seacoast, Royal Embassy, L'Excellence, Villa Di Mare and 5838 Collins Avenue – have contacted City Commissioners, DRB members, and RE:MiamiBeach with regard to the project. They plan to turn out wearing blue shirts at next week’s meeting to oppose the loss of views and to seek a public beach access point.
Comment in person at the meeting or via email to Victor Nunez

Image: Arquitectonica