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.
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, In 2013, the Winn-Dixie brand was acquired by Southeastern Grocers, LLC headquartered in Jacksonville.
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
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 the SOMI past issue for architectural renderings and additional information.)
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. Now 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 projectby 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.
AS WE GO TO PRINT
An article by Brian Bandell, South Florida Business Journal (November 13, 2020) reported that the site was sold to AvalonBay Communities, Inc. for $19 million
AvalonBay Communities, Inc. is an equity REIT in the business of developing, redeveloping, acquiring and managing apartments in communities throughout the country.
DECISIONS A LA ZOOM
Over the course of the past months, the City Commission conducted its business remotely via the ZOOM platform. Principal participants in the deliberations are captured in the following ZOOM snapshots. 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, principal of Shubin & Bass, P.A., who has represented the developer for some nine years in relation to this project, laid out the proposed changes made after the first public hearing two weeks prior, followed by additional community input and vigorous staff review. In all, for this particular project there were a total of eight public hearings, beginning on May 14, 2019.
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 includes 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 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.
Traffic engineer Timothy Plummer noted that structural changes were made so that two large delivery trucks could unload within the structure. All delivery and trash functions are internalized, and a dockmaster is planned to be on-duty to manage delivery operations.
Robert Parsley of Geomantic Design presented the landscape plan which is to include a total of 109 trees on site and street scape, which there are currently 51 trees. The planting will include native trees, creating great space for an urban setting.
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.
John Edward Smith