Massive Design District Project Growing

Developers of a high-end retail Design District special area plan are asking the city to expand the 19-acre mixed-use site by 10% to add 12 smaller properties along North Miami Avenue.
The addition would bring in almost 423,000 square feet of commercial space, 489 residential units, 1,181 above-ground parking spaces and about 1,700 square feet of open space, according to City of Miami legislation. Amending the special area plan, the legislation says, would aid redevelopment and create residential units, hotel rooms, commercial uses and civic and open space.  It would also, the legislation says, create financial benefits for the city, as well as add temporary and permanent jobs.
New properties that would be added are at 3815 and 3840 NE Miami Court; 3825, 3852 and 3900 N Miami Ave.; 20, 21 and 28 NW 39th St.; 30 and 50 NE 39th St.; and 4100 and 4039 NE First Ave. Originally, the project was approved for 19.08 acres, or 951,718 square feet, of commercial space, 53 hotel rooms, 96 residential units and 2,571 parking spaces. It was supposed to generate about $3.2 million annually in tax revenue to the city.
With the additions, however, the special area plan would generate almost $4.7 million a year in taxes, in addition to creating a total of 1,230 permanent new jobs, the legislation says. Development proposed in the amended plan is to cost $152 million, for a total project cost of $443 million, exclusive of land and developer fees. Ambitious South Florida developer Craig Robins, president and CEO of DACRA, designed the layout for the luxury district that shows a four-block pedestrian passageway lined with luxury fashion shops and scattered with cafés and areas for lingering, bearing a notable small-scale resemblance to Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road Mall. It’s to be anchored on each end by a department store.
Its approved 30-foot-wide walkway is to be open 24 hours and function like a public street, but without cars.
French designer Louis Vuitton is to set up a hub there, bringing with it 11 of its other brands including Christian Dior, Fendi, Bulgari, Pucci and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Other brands on the growing list of luxury retail for the district include Hermes, Zegna and Burberry, many of which have been lured from the Bal Harbour Shops.
The project is to rise in phases and be fully completed by 2015. If commissioners on July 25 approve adding to the area, the zoning change would take effect 30 days thereafter. The commission approved the original project in August 2012.
Miami’s Design District spans portions of 12 city blocks, containing all the properties generally bounded on the east by Biscayne Boulevard, south by Northeast Sixth Street, west by North Miami Avenue and north by Northeast 40th Street.
The district — once catering only to design trade professionals — has become an internationally recognized center for furniture design and a burgeoning home for the arts, high fashion and restaurants, according to city documents, its emerging status consistent with the city’s vision to develop world-class destinations in such sectors.
Source: Miami Today

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