CLIENT NEWS: Health District plan switches from offices to residences

January 10, 2023

The developer of a planned high-rise along highway 836 in Miami’s Health District has decided to change the use from office space to residential.

The city’s Urban Development Review Board recommended approval of the modified project, with two conditions: hire a dock master for the loading area, and study adding glass into the building’s southeast corner.

The applicant is named TCD 212 CIVICA FL PROPERTY LLC and TCD 1000 NW 14TH STREET LLC and plans the redesigned tower for 1050 and 1000 NW 14th St.

In 2021, TCD got approval of a 22-story office/commercial tower on the site.

Melissa Tapanes Llahues, an attorney representing TCD, wrote: “Following approval, market conditions and the critical need for housing in the city encouraged the applicant to explore the inclusion of a residential component at the property.

“As a result, the applicant seeks minor modifications to the approved plans… The proposed modifications result from the change from office to residential uses,” she said.

What is described as the Phase II modified project will be called Civica and will be a 27-story building with 342 dwellings, which are to be market rate apartments.

“The massing and overall aesthetics remain in line with the quality and feel of the prior approval. Notably, the overall height to the roof structure has increased slightly from 309’-9” to 310’ … the proposed plans provide 27 stories whereas the approved plans provided 22 stories. This increase in stories comes from a decrease in the floor to ceiling height per story resulting from the change from office use to residential,” wrote Ms. Tapanes Llahues.

Phase I of this project approved renovations to an existing structure at the property to improve the aesthetic appearance by increasing fenestration and modern architectural features. The improvements also included interior modifications to meet today’s commercial and office tenant demands, noted Ms. Tapanes Llahues.

Maritza Haro Salgado, an attorney who also represents TCD, told the board that the overall site remains same.

“The Civica Center will remain (after a) much-needed facelift. Ground level restaurant and office uses will complement the residential tower … the Metrorail is a block away. This will provide housing close to employment,” she said.

Architectural firm CUBE 3 designed the original tower with offices and designed the new proposed building.

Jon Cardello of CUBE 3 explained design elements and changes to the review board.

He said as the design team reevaluated the building for residential units they reduced the floorplate, preserving some site views from a neighboring building.

“It’s a positive for our neighbor and for us – reducing the massing and intensity on the site,” he said.

The parking podium will accommodate up to 590 vehicles.

Board Chairman Ignacio Permuy called the new design exceptional.

“You’ve done an excellent job. I do believe it’s an improvement from what was before, especially in that corner where you allow visibility from the adjacent (building),” he said.

Mr. Permuy added, “I want to commend you again. This is a very complex site and you have a lot going on …You have a beautiful project. I love what you did with the massing, and the articulation.”

Board member Fidel Perez agreed.

“You’ve made improvements to the project from the one previously approved,” he said.

Board member Gia Zapattini said, “I like your presentation, it allowed me to see what was previously approved and what you want to try to do now.”

She noted the building’s materials and façade have changed; the office building was mostly glass.

“I personally think …it would be nicer if you were able to keep a complete glass building,” she said.

Mr. Cardello explained the residential project is now targeting new nurses and doctors just out of college.

“I think the need in the health district for quality affordable housing makes sense,” and that translated into less glass and more solid façades, he said.

Ms. Zapatinni asked if it will be low-income housing.

Mr. Cardello said no, it will be market rate but not luxury.

Published on January 3, 2023 on MiamiTodayNews.com

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