500-700 Alton Project Scheduled for Design Review

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

500-700 Alton Project Scheduled for Design Review:

Park on Fifth development will be presented on May 7

Russell Galbut and David Martin will present plans for their Park on Fifth mixed-used development at next month’s Miami Beach Design Review Board meeting (DRB). The proposal includes a 519-foot tower on the 500 block of Alton Road, a three-acre public park and commercial retail and restaurant use on the 600 block.

The DRB filing also gives us a first look at the partnership between Galbut, Co-Founder of Crescent Heights, and Martin, President and Co-Founder of Terra Group. The documents indicate the property is “under contract for purchase” by TCH 500 Alton Holdings, LLC which is controlled 50% by Park on Fifth, LLC owned by Galbut and various family members and 50% by T 500 Alton Member, LLC owned by Martin and his father Pedro, who is Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Terra.
In the application letter, attorney Graham Penn describes the project:
The 500 block will include a “private residential tower (including a small lounge use open to the public) with accessory facilities (including mechanical parking lifts).”
“The residential tower has been designed to provide a mix of units, ranging from studios to four-bedroom units exceeding 2,300 square feet. The average unit size is 1,282 square feet.”
North of 6th Street there will be “an approximately three-acre public park, approximately 13,200 square feet of commercial space, and a surface parking lot serving the Floridian condominium.” The developers will construct the park and donate it to the City in perpetuity.
“Pedestrian access will be significantly improved over the existing condition and the approved development for the site,” according to the application letter. “Upon completion of the private development and City park, area residents will have pedestrian access within and across the entire development site. The development will link West Avenue to Alton Road, and, upon the City’s construction of a link over 5th Street made possible by this development, the South of Fifth neighborhood to the rest of South Beach in a manner not seen since the construction of the McArthur [sic] Causeway.”
“All required parking for the residential tower and lounge will be housed within the portion of the Property south of 6th Street. The residential use on the 500 block will be linked to the parking structure proposed for the 600 Block with an elevated pedestrian accessway located at the eastern edge of the site.”
“The commercial development is contemplated to include a mix of retail and small restaurant uses,” according to the application. “It is currently estimated to incorporate 8,335 sq. ft. of retail and 290 seats of restaurant space, although leasing changes may result in a different mix of uses. The commercial building has been designed to be flexible to account for typical changes in use.”
In addition to the park, the developers will grant the City an easement to accommodate an additional ten-foot wide westbound turn lane from Alton Road to 5th Street. Also incorporated in the development is a pedestrian bridge over 5th Street connecting the Baywalk on each side. That application is expected to be heard in June.

The developers are seeking several variances which include waiving landscaping requirements for the surface parking lot adjacent to the park and to allow it to be located at zero feet from the eastern property line and to permit up to 40 residential units (11.9% of total) to be a minimum of 475 feet where 550 feet would be required.
In the application letter, Penn notes the surface parking lot will include 76 spaces for the Floridian across the street. Plans call for it to be set back 29 feet from West Avenue. “The parking lot perimeter is proposed to be heavily landscaped, so it ‘disappears’ into the park. This will not be a typical parking lot – instead it will be surrounded by three acres of City park space.”
“The need to reduce the lot’s footprint while still buffering the lot from the street has required the Applicant to focus landscaping on the perimeter,” Penn wrote. “The lot is proposed to include interior planting areas at the center of the lot, but the full interior landscaping required by the City’s regulations simply cannot be accommodated.” Those requirements include an “8’6" wide landscaped area at the end of all parking rows”; “landscaped areas with trees within the first 90 linear feet”; and “one landscaped area provided with a tree for each additional 90 linear feet.”
“The Applicant believes that the public interest is better served by a smaller lot and a design that focuses landscaping within the adjacent public space rather than inside the lot,” Penn wrote in the request for the variances.
The tower will include 337 residential units. Noting the average unit size of 1,282 square feet is “over 400 square feet above the City’s requirements” of 800 square feet, Penn wrote, “In order to provide for a smaller unit option, the Applicant is proposing to develop up to 40 units at a minimum size of 475 square feet, where 550 square feet would be required. The Applicant believes that providing a wider range of unit sizes will ensure a vibrant mix of residents in the development.”
The Development Agreement with the City prohibits hotel use but allows the developers rentals of not less than thirty days on 10 percent of the units that they control. That number will be a diminishing number as the units are sold. Once the building is sold out, the condo documents would not allow rentals of less than six months and a day.

The tower will include 45 floors within the 519-feet. The earlier discussed number of stories was 44, however the City no longer includes “stories” in its measurement factor of height according to James Murphy, Chief of Urban Design for the City’s Planning Department.
Earlier this week, the shell of the old South Shore Hospital which stood vacant on the 600 block of Alton Road for more than a decade was imploded to make way for the new development.

First up is the Planning Board on April 30. Planning Board application here

Planning Board
Tuesday, April 30, noon
City Hall, Commission Chambers
Attend in person to make comments or email Victor Nunez

Read the DRB application for the development and for the park.

Design Review Board
Tuesday, May 7, 8:30 am
City Hall, Commission Chambers
Attend in person to make comments or email Monique Fons 
Renderings: Arquitectonica

FPL Proposes New Substation on Fourth Street

Susan Askew
Susan Askew
Facility needed to meet “critical new growth demands”

Park Hotel Plans Filed with HPB

Collins Park

Susan Askew
Susan Askew
Blue Road wants to construct boutique hotel