First Look: Urbin Miami Beach

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

First Look: Urbin Miami Beach:

Plans filed for new co-living and hotel space on Washington Avenue

Urbin Miami Beach Partners has filed its plans with the Historic Preservation Board for a new six-story co-living and hotel building in the 1200 block of Washington Avenue. 

Developer Rishi Kapoor and a group of investors are under contract to purchase an office building at 1234 Washington Avenue and an adjacent retail building. Kapoor wants to preserve and historically designate the 1961 office building, demolish the retail building, and construct the new mixed-use building with 49 co-living units, 56 hotel rooms, and retail and restaurant space.

In the application, attorney Michael Larkin, Bercow Radell Fernandez & Larkin, said after demolition about 18,762 sq. ft. of gross floor area will remain with approximately 48,207 sq. ft. of new construction. The new building will have frontages on three sides – Washington Avenue, 13th Street and Drexel Avenue. The ground floor will include two micro-retail units and two restaurants. A wellness center for residents and hotel guests will be located on the first floor of the office building.

“The Applicant’s goal is to provide a variety of uses in the heart of the Washington Avenue corridor that will help residents and business owners that have been priced out of existing areas on the Beach,” Larkin wrote.

According to the application, the second and third floors of the new structure will contain 49 co-living units and suites. The ten suites include two 2-bedroom units, six 3-bedroom units, and two 4-bedroom units. The suites include a common area with kitchen and laundry. Additionally, there are 39 “junior studio” units at 275 sq. ft. each. Outdoor living areas for the residential tenants would be located on the second and fourth levels.

The fifth and sixth floors are reserved for 56 hotel rooms, two suites at 363 sq. ft. with the remaining rooms between 209 and 275 sq. ft.

According to a historic resources report prepared by architect Arthur Marcus submitted with the application, the office building was designed by architect Maurice Weintraub for the Washington Federal Savings & Loan Association, later First Nationwide Bank. 

“This is one of a select few MiMo (Mid-Century Modern Miami) style buildings on the Avenue,” Marcus stated. “The intricately detailed architectural screen or brise-soleil is designed with MiMo motifs.” The screens are integrated into the design on both the Washington and Drexel Avenue sides.

At the front of the office building is “a unique amoeba shaped pond that continues into the lobby area,” the application notes. According to Marcus, “The amoeba shaped pond is very-typical of MiMo and of the stylistic period. It lends a playful quality to this exterior space and is to be restored.”

“The Applicant believes that the existing office building on the 1234 Parcel is significant to the character of Washington Avenue and warrants preservation,” Larkin wrote. “The Project includes revitalizing the exterior and interior spaces so that it will complement the proposed vision for the 1260 Parcel.”

Noting the property is “situated between residential multi-family and commercial uses,” Larkin wrote, “The design of the new structure purposefully addresses this dynamic, preserves the office building, which has been maintained over time, and sets back the new structure to provide additional public spaces along Washington Avenue and to highlight the historic U.S. Post Office” on the corner of 13th and Washington.

“The design enhances the pedestrian experience on Washington Avenue with an open plaza that highlights the historic U.S. Post Office, and provides a variety of shade trees,” Larkin said. “It will benefit the community by serving as a catalyst project to revitalize Washington Avenue and furthers the efforts to improve the streetscape.”

In addition to HPB approval, the project requires a stop at the Planning Board for approval of three entertainment areas: a ground floor bar, a rooftop pool area, and a rooftop bar.

Specifically, the Planning Board application indicates the bar on the ground floor will front Washington Avenue, opening onto the “hidden plaza courtyard area and completely covered with floor above.” It will have a maximum occupancy of 104. Proposed hours are 11:00 am to 5:00 am. Programming includes a DJ and live music.

The rooftop pool will have an upper and lower deck. It will be open to residents and hotel guests, limited to an occupancy of 130 people. Hours are proposed to be from 7:00 am to midnight. Entertainment would be limited Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. Proposed programming includes a DJ and live music.

The rooftop bar will be separate from the pool and will be located on the northeastern corner of the property, “as far away from residential uses as possible on the site,” according to the application. The space will include seating and a retractable roof with a maximum occupancy of 219 with only 63 seats. Hours will be 11:00 am until midnight. Hours of entertainment are proposed to be limited on Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm and on Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.

The architect is Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet, Touzet Studio.

According to an October 2019 article in The Real Deal, this is one of three Urbin projects planned in Miami-Dade County. Investors include David Martin of Terra Group.

The application is expected to be heard at the February HPB meeting. Full application here.

The Planning Board hearing is scheduled for January 28. Full application here.

Renderings: Touzet Studio

Washington Avenue view

Drexel Avenue view

Current conditions

Current conditions including amoeba-shaped pond

Aerial view of location

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