This morning I sat down with Tony Cho, President and Founder, of Metro I Properties to chat about his on going projects in Wynwood and the Design District. His company is a full-service real estate brokerage and investment firm that focuses on infill redevelopment of the urban core. Metro 1 focuses on properties east of I-95 from downtown Miami to NE 54 Street. What about the MiMo District in the Upper East Side, I asked? Tony Cho’s response:
I believe an anti-development climate exists in the Upper East Side, which makes it difficult for businesses and economic development and continues to further depress real estate values. I think the MiMo BID can help, but ultimately development will bring investment and density and more businesses to the area.
I live on the Upper East Side and I must admit that the truth hurts. The T3 (2 Stories) designation is stifling redevelopment. I have to agree with Tony and say that 35′ T3 lobby has effectively suppressed property values in the area and will not make our neighborhood any safer because it does not encourage density. The few developments that are in the process of being permitted are all 1-story buildings that DO NOT add enough pedestrians to Biscayne Boulevard. Why are these developers choosing to build only one story? My guess is that it is not economically worthwhile to build a second floor or developers may choose to sell their density bonuses. If the Upper East Side Biscayne Boulevard corridor were to be designated T5 (5 stories) I think we would see developers building 5 stories and not choosing to build less or sell their density bonuses.
We need density, not bad density (10 stories), but GOOD density (5 stories). The 35-foot height limit restricts density in our neighborhood, removing an important motive for developers to invest in the area. On the other hand T5 zoning is attractive to developers, and with Miami 21′s pedestrian friendly zoning, it will bring a good scale of density and development to the area. T5 zoning allows developers to build structures like the Balans Café building on Biscayne Boulevard and NE 68th Street. This building is not out of scale and is sensitive to the surrounding single-family homes.
Wake up Upper East Side! If you want your property values to rise and you want your neighborhood to become safer you should support higher intensity infill development. On the other hand, if you want the neighborhood to stay the same (crime, drugs, prostitution) then let’s keep the 35-foot height limit and not encourage development in the area. No fence or wall will keep you safe as long as Biscayne Boulevard remains a cesspool of crime, drugs and prostitution. In order to change the reality of Biscayne Boulevard we need people living and doing business (not turning tricks) on Biscayne Boulevard. We need to support mixed-use development and the only way this can be done is if the height limit on Biscayne is increased to actually allow five stories.
Not all development is bad, nor are all developers evil. There are plenty of good developers with good intentions in Miami. As a community we need to support more intense development if we want our property values to rise and reduce crime. There is plenty of research out there to support that walkable neighborhoods have higher property values and are safer; the more eyes on the street the less crime. We shouldn’t allow the voice of the few who lobbied for 35′ height limit to further allow our neighborhood to fall into decay.
Please send Commissioner Mark Sarnoff an email and let him know that you support pedestrianizing Biscayne Boulevard in the Upper East Side. Also, please ask him to apply pressure on FDOT to re-stripe Biscayne Boulevard. Biscayne Boulevard needs to be business and pedestrian friendly. It’s all about economic development. We need density, a street people can actually cross, and parallel parking so businesses can thrive.
- Open Letter to Commissioner Sarnoff: Quality of Life Funds for Upper East Side Charrette
- Upper East Side Redevelopment Begins with Streetscape Design
- FDOT is coming to the Upper East Side; so is Transit Miami
- Public Meeting Notice: Creating an Upper East Side Historic District
- Crashes Continue to Plague Biscayne Boulevard
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