Related Group Gets Design Approval for planned Class A Office Development on Miami Beach’s Terminal Island

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Related Group Gets Design Approval for planned Class A Office Development on Miami Beach’s Terminal Island:

Leasing can now begin

Related Group received design approval this week for its proposed Class A office development on Miami Beach’s Terminal Island, clearing the way for leases to be signed. At the Planning Board meeting in January in which the operations plan for the site was approved, Related’s President, J.P. Perez, said interest in the site was high. “We have significant demand, signficiant meaning almost 100% of demand for the office space already with financial firms, hedge funds, family offices and tech companies.”

Related's attorney, Tracy Slavens of Holland & Knight, said after the Design Review Board (DRB) approval, the last piece of the review process involves a shoreline review through Miami-Dade County, though, she noted, “We anticipate to begin signing leases now. Permit submittals can be anticipated sometime later this year."

One Island Park will include two five-story office towers with approximately 161,671 sq. ft. of office space, a four-story parking garage, ground level café, and a rooftop restaurant. City Commissioners last month approved a height increase for the site from 40 to 75 feet, an increase the developer said was necessary to provide the 14-ft tall ceilings required by users of high-end office space.

Architect Ray Fort of Arquitectonica told the Design Review Board the design of the two office towers which steps back as the building gets taller is “reminiscent of some of the yacht designs that we see as the terracing of the boats goes up to the top of the ships.”

He also focused on the “heavily landscaped zone” along the driveway to the office buildings and a 25-foot setback from the seawall to the building that provides for fire access and limited servicing of the mega-yachts that will remain on-site but will also serve as a shared pedestrian pathway as an amenity for the office users. 

“Something to note in today’s Class A office market, outdoor space is highly valued and creating an amenitized office building is very important so we’ve done that,” Fort said. “Not only with the use of outdoor space, but quality outdoor space, that includes that shared pedestrian pathway along the waterfront but we also have somewhat of a sculpture plaza where the [passenger] drop off occurs.” 

Related has owned the 3.71-acre parcel on the southeastern tip of Terminal Island since 2013. The site is approved for cargo terminal operations which was its previous use. Initially, Related proposed a 25-story, 300-ft tall residential tower and then a taller, slimmer tower at 34 stories, 457 feet, but following strong objections from the US Coast Guard, Related changed gears and in May last year proposed two small office towers “when the world was changing” due to COVID, Perez said.

While some residents of Fisher, Palm, and Hibiscus Islands expressed concerns at the DRB meeting over traffic and noise, City Planning Department staff noted those concerns are the purview of the Planning Board which approved the development’s Certificate of Use Permit (CUP) at its January meeting. The Planning Board order contained a provision for a progress report to review any issues with noise from the rooftop café though entertainment is not permitted on the site.

Fort noted the guardhouse at the front of the driveway will not stop traffic during the day and with a long roadway to the buildings, there will be plenty of space for cars to queue.

DRB member Jason Hagopian said, “I will say I think it’s great to be getting some office space here in Miami Beach and Class A office. What a great location, obviously a very underutilized site right now, a complicated site by the shape of it, so I think overall the design of it, the massing, is really beautiful.”

Sarah Giller Nelson agreed. “I really love this design. I think it’s one of my favorites that I’ve seen since I’ve been on the Board… I love the first floor how it’s open and makes the rest of the structure seem like it’s floating which is so appropriate for this site.” She did express some reservations about traffic, having been “caught in traffic getting on the Fisher Island ferry… but, overall, I think this is an exciting project.”

New Board member Christina Miller said, “The concept is really nice and the use of the site is really creative… the massing is really compelling,” but, she said, “I think the Planning Board may have given up a lot, giving away one of the last industrial sites in all of Miami Beach.” The City has two industrial zones in its seven miles – Terminal Island and Sunset Harbour where the towing companies that service the City are located.

“Changing it over to office seems to be a mistake,” Miller said, though she acknowledged that’s not the prerogative of the DRB.

“I think that for an investment of a site this size, there’s almost a civic responsibility that comes with it inherently even if it’s not mandated by Code,” she said. “And for that I would say that people should be able to walk over the bridge and maybe walk out to that triangular area at the end of the site that’s right now not programmed and have that be something that’s given back to the City. Again, I think the City gave up a lot by agreeing to have an accessory office use turn into a primary [use]. “The light industrial allows an accessory office use and this is definitely a primary use with the industrial as the secondary and I hope as the project moves forward that the industrial use isn’t forgotten altogether.”

Miller expressed concern for small industrial businesses that might have a demand for space. “I see this as great for the occupants of the Class A office space and maybe, right now, not so great for people who need it, lacking industrial space in Miami Beach, and also it seems pretty clipped off to a lot of residents. And, again, I understand it’s allowed but I’m not sure it’s the just use of it. And, so, I would say if it would be possible to have pedestrians circumambulate, walk in, go to that triangular portion and leave in some way that that would be much better.”

Slavens responded that offices are “allowed as a main use so we’re not using it for anything it’s not intended for. This is a landmark piece of property and it’s important that you have a highest and best use here.”

“I don’t know if you recall what the traffic was like from the semi-tractor trailers that came and went from this port operation that was here all hours of the night, but it was a horrible thing for every resident and visitor to Miami Beach,” Slavens added. “We wanted to maintain the industrial uses and we have. We wanted to maintain the marina use and we have.” She noted safety and security concerns, including from the Coast Guard station 300 yards across Government Cut, precluded the amenities from being open to the public.

The Board voted 6-0 to approve the project. Details of the Board application and presentation are here.

Renderings: Arquitectonica


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