CLIENT NEWS: “It will be mayhem”: Miami board approves Brickell hotel despite concerns over parking, tiny dropoff area

October 25, 2023

A Miami board approved a 40-key boutique hotel project in Brickell, despite raising concerns over the dearth of on-site parking, as well as the tiny valet pickup and dropoff area.

The Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board signed off on a proposal by Habitus Capital to build an eight-story hotel on a 0.1-acre site at 1511 Southwest Second Avenue. The board unanimously approved the project last Wednesday.

A Miami board approved a 40-key boutique hotel project in Brickell, despite raising concerns over the dearth of on-site parking, as well as the tiny valet pickup and dropoff area.

The Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board signed off on a proposal by Habitus Capital to build an eight-story hotel on a 0.1-acre site at 1511 Southwest Second Avenue. The board unanimously approved the project last Wednesday.

Brickell-based Habitus, a residential and hospitality real estate development company, is led by Mauricio Magaña, Daniel del Rio and Pablo Ramos, according to its website. Habitus paid $1.6 million for the 5,850-square-foot development site last year, records show. The property is adjacent to Novotel Hotels & Resorts.

While renderings show the Sonder hospitality management firm’s logo etched on the building, a representative for Habitus told the board that it has not secured an operating brand.

Habitus won board approval to allow for a 10 percent increase in the maximum allowed lot coverage, as well as to have rooftop mechanical equipment extend 15 feet in height, rather than the allowed 10 feet. Because the building will be shorter than the 12 stories allowed on the site, as well as shorter from planned and existing nearby projects, the extra height for mechanical equipment will be imperceptible, Carli Koshal, an attorney representing Habitus, told the board at its meeting last week.

The firm also won approval to provide seven on-site parking spaces. The board approved the reduction because the site is in a transit-oriented development zone where patrons are expected to use the Metromover or trolley. Habitus also plans to contribute funds to a city transit-enhancement trust fund, according to its application.

“People and hotel users are not going to be coming in cars. They are going to be using Ubers and ride shares,” Koshal told the board.

Some board members questioned whether all guests visiting the hotel would know not to drive their own car or a rental — and instead use Uber or public transportation.

“If you have 20 people Ubering and 20 people using their cars, where are they going to put their cars? It’s a real issue,” said board member Paul Mann. “Have you really thought about the parking and what would you do if you arrived there and had nowhere to park?”

“Where the hell are those people going to park?” added board vice chair Anthony Parrish.

“I think the hope is that the demographic that patronizes this hotel is one that is very comfortable with public transportation, and there is a demographic that chooses to use ride-sharing,” Koshal responded.

The property would include an on-site valet for guests’ cars where ride-sharing vehicles also can pick up and drop off guests. But it’s “a really tight site” that’s roughly 50 feet in width, Koshal said. A planter on the street is meant to deter Ubers and Lyfts from stopping on the road and blocking traffic.

“You are going to need traffic control. It will be mayhem,” Mann said about the small valet area that also would accommodate ride-sharing cars. “It would be mayhem in that tiny little space.”

While the planter is a good idea, Ubers and Lyfts still might find a way to pull over around it and on the street, meaning that they would block traffic, board member Adam Gersten said.

Board chair Chris Collins argued that removing the planter from the street and designating the area for ride-sharing vehicles would alleviate congestion from the on-site valet section. He expects that a hotel this size would have 15 to 20 guest arrivals per day.

Ultimately, the board approved Collins’ motion to approve the project with the condition that the planter is removed from the street and the site is designated for ride-sharing vehicles, subject to an engineer’s approval.

The issue points to Brickell’s increasing traffic woes, as Miami’s financial district has expanded in recent years into a major residential neighborhood with hospitality offerings. Some developers have gone entirely parking free in a wager that patrons will rely on ride-sharing, Metromover or trolleys.

The citizenM Miami Brickell Hotel at 11 Southeast 10th Street has no parking.

And, board member Alex Dominguez said at the meeting, “It seems to be doing OK.”

Published on October 24, 2023 on TheRealDeal.com

Share it on

Ready to take that next step?

Contact Us

Our Firm Awards

© 2023 Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin + Tapanes

×