Affordable/Workforce Housing Project Proposed for North Beach

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Affordable/Workforce Housing Project Proposed for North Beach:

Housing Authority of the City of Miami Beach plans 22 units on Marseilles Drive

UPDATE: Approved by the Historic Preservation Board on June 15, 2021.

The Housing Authority of the City of Miami Beach has filed plans with the City’s Historic Preservation Board for a small affordable/workforce housing development in North Beach on two lots at 1144 Marseilles Drive. Plans call for ten studio apartments and 12 one-bedroom units.

HACMB Director of Housing Development Programs Michael O’Hara said the Authority owns five lots on Marseilles Drive and had originally considered aggregating the lots to create one larger development. After concerns were raised by the community about its compatibility within the context of the historic neighborhood, HACMB decided to break the project down into two pieces with this project known as Eleven44 and another to be presented in September.

Eleven44 will be built on two vacant lots at 1144 Marseilles Drive which HACMB acquired in May 2014 for $1.295 million. O’Hara said the construction which is expected to cost $5 million is fully funded through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and Miami-Dade County.

The design, O’Hara noted, pushes the bulk of the massing – four stories – to the rear of the building with a two-story segment on the front eastern section to be sensitive to the neighboring two-story building, and a three-story section on the western front which abuts the additional Housing Authority lots.

"We really took to heart the comments that we received [from the community] on the massing and making sure we did not bring a product that was going to be incompatible with the area and I think we’ve done that," O’Hara said.

To create a structure sensitive to the historic district, the Housing Authority (HACMB) is once again working with architect Roney Mateu who designed the Steven Chaykin Apartments at 321 Michigan Avenue, a 30-unit housing development for elderly disabled persons. In 2016, the project received the Honor Award for Design Excellence (Architecture Less than 50,000 sf) from the Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and, in 2018, it was awarded the AIA’s prestigious Merit Award of Design Excellence for New Work.

The North Beach development is in a low-lying area and, in addition to consideration of its compatibility with the neighborhood, it is also designed with resilient and sustainable features and will seek LEED Gold certification. "This is a building that is going to stand the test of time and will be a model for how affordable housing can be built in a historic district, respecting its neighbors and addressing sea level rise,” O’Hara said.

In addition to the 22 units, there are 12 parking spaces proposed for the development along with bicycle parking. (Eleven parking spaces are required.) The building includes a small community space on the ground floor where residents can gather in cases of emergencies. A generator will power the 300 sq ft area which includes a small kitchen and bathroom. All of the units will have washers and dryers contained within.

Along with State funding for affordable/workforce housing developments comes a mandate that 10% of the units be leased at 28% of the Area Median Income (AMI) which, in this case, would be three units. O’Hara said under the State criteria, the maximum one-person household income would be $17,724 and the maximum two-person household income would be $20,272. Rent for a studio would be set at $443 and $474 for a one-bedroom unit.

The remaining 19 units can have a maximum income of 80% of the AMI – a maximum of $50,650 for a single-person and $57,850 for a two-person household. In those cases, rent would be $1,266 for a studio and $1,356 for a one-bedroom. Qualified tenants will be selected via a lottery system.

O’Hara said new construction of affordable housing is rare in Miami Beach and demand for the units is expected to be high. "There’s very little supply of affordable housing at this type of level and in Miami Beach in general," O’Hara said. The $5 million investment (exclusive of land cost) “is a big investment in affordable housing, and for the North Beach area,” he added.

Another State funding requirement is that the units remain as affordable housing for fifty years, though O’Hara said HACMB keeps all of its properties within its portfolio so Eleven44 will remain affordable in perpetuity.

The project will be heard by the Historic Preservation Board in June. If approved, occupancy is expected in late 2023.

Neisen Kasdin, former Miami Beach Mayor and Miami Office Managing Partner for Akerman LLP, is working pro bono on the project to help guide it through the land use board process, according to O’Hara.

Coming in September, a proposal for the adjacent property at 1158 Marseilles Drive. Named The Heron, it will contain 22 units of elderly housing for people with special needs, O’Hara said. That project is being designed by Brooks + Scarpa.

In addition to the Steven Chaykin Apartments, HACMB operates Rebecca Towers, the Lois Apartments, Henderson Court, and the Leonard Turkel Residences.

Renderings: Mateu Architecture

[Correction May 15 at 8:30 am to reflect HACMB owns five lots not 5.5 and that the September proposal will be for 1158 Marseilles not 1158 and 1168 as reported in an earlier version of this story.]

Eleven44 Marseilles Drive as proposed by HACMB

Side and rear view of proposed building


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