Overall, the project would include 170 multi-family residential units above the ground floor retail store along with 179 parking spaces for retail customers and residents. Resident amenities include a 3,634 sq ft clubhouse and open green space located on the roof of the parking structure. The architect is Cube 3.
The project design needs to be approved by the Design Review Board which is expected to review it in April. The Planning Board is involved because the development involves operation of a retail establishment over 25,000 sq ft. If built, it would be one of only two retail stores of that size allowed to be built within the new Town Center (TC-C) District. This space is proposed to be just over 30,000 sq ft.
City Planning Staff expressed concerns with the operations of the proposed Target store after representations that it would operate similar to the store at 5th and Lenox, the first Target on the Beach. Planning and Zoning Manager Michael Belush told the Board there have been problems with the delivery trucks at that site being larger than the size of the loading bays and Staff wanted to ensure specificity in the operational plan for the North Beach site.
The developer’s attorney, Wayne Pathman, Pathman Lewis, said his client had a bit of a chicken and egg problem. He cannot sign the retail tenant, whoever it may be, without an approval of the site plan, which includes the loading bays, first.
“Target is a potential tenant but we currently do not have a lease,” he told the Board.
Jonathan Cardello of Cube 3 said that since the initial application, most of the staff concerns have been addressed including a fully enclosed loading area with all movement internalized to ensure no blocking of the street.
Developer Aria Mehrabi said he’s been working with Target for three years and it took convincing to get them to take a chance on the North Beach location. “They were not going to come because of what it is. We had to bring their real estate committee in. We had to talk them into what this will become. What it is will not attract any credit [worthy] tenants, including Target,” he said.
“We have a negotiated lease with them but our site plan kept changing because Staff kept changing their idea of what they wanted to do here,” he told the Board. A more generic operational plan was submitted four months ago, he said, but he didn’t get notice it wasn’t sufficient until three days before the hearing, not enough time for something more robust.
He said he needed site plan approval to go back to Target and secure a signed commitment, then Target will submit a detailed operations plan.
Mehrabi said the architectural team, working with the City, has incorporated lessons learned from the South Beach Target location. "That building cannot accommodate internal turns and deliveries are being made by large trucks that the building was not designed for," he noted.
“Staff has recognized the problem and wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We agree with that,” he said. As a result, the plans include an internalized loading bay and North Beach Town Center Development will agree to limit the maximum size of trucks allowed for deliveries.
The Planning Board agreed to approve the site plan under the following conditions:
- Prior to obtaining a building permit, the developer will provide a complete business operations plan for the review and approval of the Planning Board. At a minimum, the plan will include the hours of operation, number of employees, a plan for delivery of merchandise that include sizes of all delivery and trash vehicles utilized, frequency and management of vehicles, security for the site, and parking.
- The maximum length of any delivery vehicle will not exceed 47 feet and the operations plan shall include provisions to ensure that no more than one vehicle over 20 feet in length will service the retail establishment at any given time.
- All deliveries shall be accommodated within the site and no stacking, idling, or loading shall be permitted on the street at any time.
Belush told the Board that City Staff has been working with the developer for over a year. “We have exhausted many different alternatives,” he said, including locating the Target on the second floor as well as partially on the first and second floors and through-loading on both Byron and Abbott.
“We’ve explored a multitude of options here,” Belush said. “This has been stagnant for a long time. We don’t want to delay either,” he added after discussion over the potential of a continuance until the operational plan can be finalized.
“We never said we’re not supportive of Target,” Belush said. “We just need to have this operations plan to ensure we don’t have an issue with it being a problem after it’s built.”
The Board agreed to the developer’s request to approve the site plan with conditions now so that a lease can be signed and a detailed operational plan agreed to by the tenant to bring back to the Planning Board at a later date.
Next up: The Design Review Board on April 7. You can view the submission here.
Because the building is taller than the 125 ft allowed in the North Beach Town Center – it is just shy of 150 ft – Mehrabi noted in his application that he intends expedited construction in lieu of a public benefit fee. City Code allows extra height in the Town Center in exchange for a public benefit fee. An expedited construction timetable can be substituted for the fee provided projects in excess of 100,000 sq ft obtain a building permit within 21 months of the effective date of the Town Center ordinance (November 2018) and a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) or certificate of occupancy (CO) within 30 months of approval of the building permit.
Rendering: Cube 3