Still a work in progress.

Existing conditions.  Store set-back from the street with surface parking on site, and angle parking on 73 Street.

For the better part of the last decade discussions were taking place considering the fate of the Winn-Dixie store and what would happen on the 1.5 acre site in our town center.

On June 2, 2020 a bold vision, which when realized will transform 73rd Street and usher in new life to our restaurant and retail district, was unanimously approved by the South Miami City Commission.

Pedestrian view from public plaza looking at Market entrance.

For the past six decades, South Miamians have appreciated the presence and convenience of the grocery store located at 5850 SW 73 Street.  The Winn-Dixie has proudly been serving the local supermarket needs of the South Miami community since 1962.

According to the Miami-Dade County property appraiser’s office, the parcel of land of 65,830 sq.ft. was acquired in July 2007 for $14,500,000.  Facundo Bacardi, who frequents the area with his family acquired the property at that time. 

Discussions were had with community and city leaders over the past several years as to the redevelopment of the property.  Some thought was given to a boutique hotel or other uses, however serious concern was given to maintaining a grocery store in the area.  Representatives of the owner scoured the area in search of a suitable location for a grocery store, should the site be otherwise developed; none were found.

As first reported in SOMI Magazine in the February/March 2018 issue (Vol. XIII, No. 2), the developer spent one and a half years in planning with Winn-Dixie.  What was brought forward at that time for approval in the redevelopment of the site would satisfy two needs of the community: a neighborhood grocery store and much needed residential apartments, bringing more foot traffic into our town center.  The initial plan didn’t gather much traction as it massed a 40,000 sq.ft. grocery store and two eight-story upscale apartment buildings with a zero lot line to the street. (See online SOMI Vol XIII, February/March 2019 for architectural renderings and additional information.) 

Aerial view from SW 73rd Street looking onto public plaza.

That plan was scrapped.  The developer went back to the drawing board and looked to hammer out an agreement which would be beneficial for all parties.  Density, height and curb appeal were paramount concerns.  New plans were rolled out as the city and developer dealt with height limitations with new zoning requirements.  

Overtime, in all some eight iterations of different plans complete with architectural renderings, city planning and public meetings were had.  Great effort, expense and care has been given to this project by the property owner.

The firm of Corwill Architects was brought in to address the developer’s and community’s needs in articulating the project.  On these two pages are the renderings presented by lead architect Albert Cordoves.

During the pandemic months, the City Commission conducted its business remotely via the ZOOM platform.  To view the decisive June 2, 2020 meeting, please go to https://southmiami.granicus.com/player/clip/1218?view_id=2&redirect=true.

Land use attorney Jeff Bass who has represented the developer for some nine years in relation to this project, laid out the proposed changes made after the public hearings, additional community input and vigorous staff review.   In all, for this project there were a total of eight public hearings, beginning on May 14, 2019.

Night aerial view from SW 74th Street looking onto residential amenity/pool deck.

Changes brought forward to accommodate the needs of the community and city from the prior application in 2019 to the one now under consideration are: height reduced from 11 stories to 9 stories, from 134’8” to 118’5”.  Residential apartments were reduced from 301 to 248; market square footage increased from 24,391 to 32,800, and parking was reduced from 498 to 399.  

The public realm improvements include terraced setbacks which activate the street and crafting space to accommodate a pedestrian realm.  Architect Albert Cordoves noted that the design “brings the pedestrian realm experience to the next level, activating 80% of the perimeter at ground level.”  The “H” design of the massing of the building also enhances the pedestrian experience; the design articulates and breaks up the massing of the building creating beautiful open amenity areas and visuals.  Central to the experience is the urbanistic designed central courtyard on 73 Street with its landscape and artscape..  Connectivity and pedestrian realm are of paramount importance in the design.   Town homes facing 74th Street also add to the pedestrian experience.

Night View from SW 58th Court looking South towards main building façade.

Goals, policies and objectives of the City’s Comprehensive Plan: “Support high densities and intensities in the TODD (Transit Oriented Development District) areas to take advantage of the proximity of the Metrorail and create an area where residents can live and work in a pedestrian-oriented environment.”  The Comprehensive Plan also calls to support development which contribute to the increased tax base and economic viability.  The proposal meets and exceeds the city’s comprehensive plan; tax value is estimated at $75m.  The project was unanimously passed. 

The South Miami City Commission approved ordinances allowing for a nine-story mixed-use project with 36,395 square feet of commercial space for a grocery store, 283 apartments and a roughly 400-space parking garage. The building would include a pool deck and about 8,000 square feet of indoor amenities. 

A new partner to carry the ball across the finish line was brought into the project in November 2021.  Apartment developer AvalonBay Communities paid $18,750,000 for the Winn-Dixie property.  It was a perfect fit for the Bacardi parties. AvalonBay Communities, Inc., is an equity R.E.I.T. (Real Estate Investment Trust), and has a long-term track record of developing, redeveloping, acquiring, and managing distinctive apartment living experiences and contributing to the vitality of local communities throughout the country.

Property records show 5850 S.W. 73 Street LLC sold the 1.9-acre site at 5850 Southwest 73rd Street to Avalon SoMi LLC, an affiliate of the real estate investment trust. The seller is tied to the Bacardi family and Henry Pino’s Alta Development, which secured approval this summer to build an apartment project on the site.

With construction drawings ready, the project now moves through further review by the City’s Environmental Review board anticipated for September 2022.  Selection for the grocer is yet to be made with three grocers under consideration.  With the closing of the current lease in June 2023, movement on the project would plan to commence.

Stay tuned to SOMI Town Center NEWS online periodic updates. (Be certain to send your name and email address to [email protected] to be on our preferred mailing list.)


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