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Question - What’s 11 stories tall, 129,000 SF, located within 0.3 miles of a transit station in a dense transit-oriented quadrant of the city (see map above), and dedicates 54% of its available volume to parking?  If you guessed Miami’s newest rising LEED Silver office structure just south of the Health District, then you guessed right.

Via Globestreet:

The space is designed to LEED Silver standards and will cater to the needs of healthcare professionals, according to Gutierrez Group…The 11-story building, located at 1001 Sunnybrook Road, will include four stories of office space and six floors of parking, says Jeb Bush Jr., commercial sales and leasing agent for Coral Gables-based Fairchild Partners, which will handle leasing for Highland Park.

Welcome to Miami.  Only Miamians can figure out how to rig the LEED certification standards so that this lousy excuse of a building can become Silver Certified.  Honestly, this building should be imploded upon completion.  The building, pictured below, is reminiscent of a few other less than notable properties we’ve discussed before (See: Miami Green, Bay of Pigs Museum, Marina Blue, etc.) and littered with the same atrocious parking standards Miami has become renown for.  Some might even say we have “world-class” parking standards.  I traveled the great cities of the United States and part of the world and have never seen another city that takes such pride in its autocentric designs.  Without a formal analysis, I’d go so far as to suggest that we have more parking structures in our high transit centers than any other city I’ve seen yet.  Its projects like these that will really tarnish the USGBC’s LEED certification system.

Image Credit: Vitruvius09 via SSC

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Speaking of curb cuts, I was passing along NE 2nd Avenue and was completely disgusted to experience firsthand the atrocities permitted to occur on the backside of the buildings facing Biscayne Bay. The term Biscayne wall is quite fitting as the backsides of these towers were clearly designed to resemble the blank slate of a concrete wall, keeping pedestrians well away. The worst part of all, as we’ve discussed before, is the lack of adequate transit integration and pedestrian facilities along this route. The blank backsides will almost ensure that any use of metromover by building residents is inhibited by vehicular needs. The parking entrances of these buildings should have been relegated to the minor cross streets (NE 11, 10, 9, etc.) instead of the major thoroughfare with DIRECT rail transit access. Even worse is the street activity. Aside from an existing pawn shop, the only street activity these buildings will be seeing is parking garage access… From now own, we’re calling this the Biscayne Blunder

I figured Chopin’s Funeral March would fit this slide well because this street is good as dead Dead…

Marina Blue, the “swanky,” 60 story residential skyscraper rising along Biscayne Boulevard across the future site of Museum Park has issues, major issues. The 600+ foot tower, designed by world renowned Arquitectonica is just one of the latest blunders to rise in our city. Now please don’t be confused, but we’re not arguing about its height, size, or density but rather how this building was designed to interact with our urban streetscape. It’s because of the inadequacies of its design that many Miami activists confuse height and density as the real culprits behind much of our urban problems…

Take a look at these pictures, found on Skyscrapercity and see if you can spot any of the major issues:

Incomplete building? Designed well from 3 angles, the Marina Blue design team apparently fell asleep when working on the western facade. A blank, exposed backside will greet visitors viewing the Miami skyline from the west, a stark contrast from the stunning blue and green glass facade facing the Museums and bay. Another Arquitectonica and Hyperion development building, Blue, up in the design district suffers from the same 3 sided design syndrome…

Who needs public transit when we have enough space for every car? Logically, the best thing to place facing a metromover station is the entrance of the 12 story parking garage with enough space to handle at least the 2 cars each of the 516 units owners will have. Forget creating usable retail space fronting the metromover, the patron’s of this building will likely be arriving at the valet station anyway, it’s not like they have any other reasonable option anyway…

Of course, if we aren’t going to plan for the use of public transit then why would we expect pedestrians to access the building either? Beyond the absurd canopy placement, the 3 foot elevated platform will completely decimate any hopes of creating a vibrant and pedestrian friendly boulevard. The second picture shows just exactly how much width was provided for sidewalk cafes and activity, none of which will be possible thanks to the blank wall and guardrails which are placed accordingly to keep Marina Blue residents and visitors in.

A Couple of reminders of what we should have been attempting to do with the redevelopment along the Biscayne boulevard corridor:

Note: This picture is still prominently displayed on the DDA website…

I can’t help but think that for every step we take forward (dense urban living in an easily accessible location) we take two steps backwards (building enough parking to house a dealership and failing to adequately integrate the building with the surroundings…)

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