Miami Beach Board Approves Design for Artist Workforce Housing Development

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach Board Approves Design for Artist Workforce Housing Development:

Seven-story building to include dormitory for Miami City Ballet

A workforce housing development which prioritizes artists, City employees, educators and nurses received final approvals this week from the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board (HPB). The seven-story mixed-use project is proposed for a City-owned surface parking lot at 224 23rd Street and includes one floor of dormitories for the Miami City Ballet. 

The site is directly to the north of the Miami Beach Public Library and across the street from the Ballet. The dorm rooms will be on the second floor with the upper five floors containing approximately 80 units of workforce housing, 16 units on each floor. The total makeup of units will be 50% studios (avg size 403 sq. ft), 25% one-bedroom units (approximately 518 sq. ft.), and 25% two-bedroom units (approximately 640 sq. ft.). The maximum allowable height is 75 feet.

Servitas will negotiate a rental agreement with the Miami City Ballet for the approximately 32-bed dormitory including two private units for Ballet staff. If an agreement cannot be reached with the Ballet, an additional 16 workforce housing units will be built on the second level.

The ground level will include a residential lobby and 3,700 sq. ft. of retail or not-for-profit space. The City has right of first refusal on the space.

The City signed a Development Agreement with Servitas on February 1, 2021 for the development and operation of the project. Financing is provided by Community Finance Corp., a not-for-profit corporation that specializes in facilitating capital projects for governmental entities throughout the United States.

In his January memo to the City Commission when it approved the development agreement with Servitas, Aguila wrote the project is “not-for-profit in character, in that it would be leased by a non-profit entity and used for not-for-profit purposes at all times.” Servitas, which is based in Irving, Texas, is a student housing management and development firm. The initial term of the lease with Servitas is for 50 years with two renewal terms of 20 years each, on mutual agreement of the parties.

The Design Architect is Shulman + Associates in collaboration with PGAL Associates. Alan Shulman, who also designed the new Collins Park Garage across Liberty Avenue from the workforce housing development, said he “borrowed” from the “modularity” of the garage for the residential building as well as the garage's metal screen system which includes a crossword puzzle-like design. The new building is proposed to include a small screen with the word DANCE on one section of the facade.

When ready, income-eligible applicants will be chosen by a lottery system with first priority given to artists practicing within Miami-Dade County, City of Miami Beach employees including law enforcement personnel and firefighters, area educators and nurses employed within the City of Miami Beach, and veterans who are either employed within the City or whose current residence is within the City. A second tier includes income-eligible workers employed in the City of Miami Beach in the hospitality and entertainment industries. Tier 3 will include any other income-eligible workers employed within Miami-Dade County with priority given to those employed within the City of Miami Beach.

In the application letter to the HPB for design approval, Angel Rivera, Senior vice President Development Services for Servitas, said, “We believe that the Project will help accomplish the City of Miami Beach’s goals of developing affordable housing within the City and of increasing the presence of cultural organizations and artists within the City while improving the character and appearance of the surrounding neighborhood.” 

Details of the HPB application can be found here.

Renderings: Shulman + Associates

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