Preservation Board Approves Mixed-Use Project for 71st Street

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Preservation Board Approves Mixed-Use Project for 71st Street:

Developers Matis Cohen and Russell Galbut plan boutique residential building

The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board gave design approval to a new mixed-use project proposed by developers Matis Cohen and Russell Galbut for the corner of 71st Street and Bay Drive in North Beach. The development at 880 71st Street includes a series of pavilions that will provide pedestrian access and visibility to the Indian Creek waterway. The project features a four-story elevated building with 36 rental units, a residential lobby, and two small commercial spaces with breezeways and view corridors along with an outdoor courtyard. 

At the HPB meeting this week, architect Robert Bistry of Built Form described modifications made to the project following feedback from the Board in February including details of how utilities would be concealed in the ceiling of the ground floor understory of the residential building and lengthening the commercial space screen along the parking area to approximately 350 feet to improve its viability.

The project is proposed for what was once the site of the Tropicair Hotel before it was demolished after being declared an unsafe structure. According to the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser, LLCs owned by Cohen and Galbut paid $3.5 million for the vacant lot in 2017.

Bistry noted that the footprint of the new building and design features including eyebrows, fins, and signage were meant to evoke the Tropicair. While lamenting the loss of that building, several Board members asked about recreating the original Tropicair sign with branding for the building but using the characteristics of the old sign – its shape, lighting, and lettering. The developers agreed to the request and will work with City staff on final design.

The Board voted 4-2 to approve the building, however, the vote was unanimous for requested variances. 

The Planning Board approved the project at the end of January.



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