The Surfside commission gave Kushner Companies its blessing for a planned luxury apartment development that’s expected to include a synagogue.
New York-based Kushner plans a nearly 90-unit residential project with a roughly 1,200-square-foot community or religious center on the 2.9-acre site at 9300 Collins Avenue.
The commission voted 3 to 2 to pass a resolution approving Kushner’s site plan and a resolution for religious land use relief. The latter allows the developer to build underground parking to meet the National Flood Insurance Program requirements. Developers will sometimes incorporate other uses into their residential projects to bypass the need for a parking pedestal and build basement parking instead.
Mayor Shlomo Danzinger, Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rose and commissioner Fred Landsman voted in favor. Commissioners Nelly Velasquez and Marianne Meischeid voted against the two resolutions. Velasquez, Meischeid and some Surfside residents expressed concern that the developer was using the religious designation as a workaround to flood regulations.
Kushner, led by Charles Kushner, his daughter Nicole Kushner Meyer and Laurent Morali, paid $40 million for the property in September. Kushner worked with the seller, Shaya Boymelgreen, and the lender, Fuse Group, to assume the debt as part of the distressed deal. The site was previously zoned for 100 units.
Kushner tapped Palma and Partners to design the planned three-story building, according to plans submitted to the city.
The non-waterfront property faces the Fendi Château Residences condominium and is north of the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at the Surf Club. It is about two blocks south of the Shul of Bal Harbour, an orthodox synagogue in Surfside, and two other synagogues are nearby.
The project marks the first for Kushner in Surfside. Last year, the commission approved plans for Dubai developer Damac Properties’ luxury condo tower planned for the site of the Champlain Towers South collapse, which killed nearly 100 people in 2021.
Kushner’s attorney, Graham Penn, a partner at Bercow Radell & Fernandez, said during the commission meeting that the developer does not plan to build under the Live Local Act. The affordable housing legislation allows for taller and denser projects on commercial and mixed-use sites if the developers commit to incorporating workforce housing into their buildings.
Nearby in Bal Harbour, the owner of Bal Harbour Shops filed plans this week for a mixed-use expansion of the high-end shopping center under Live Local. Forty percent of the 600 planned residential units will be designated as workforce housing for at least 30 years, for people making up to 120 percent of the area median income. Whitman plans buildings of up to 275 feet tall, which could be about 27 stories.
Kushner has been expanding its presence and pipeline across South Florida since expanding to the region about five years ago.
Kushner and Aimco plan to develop a site in Fort Lauderdale into nearly 1,000 units, with construction expected to begin this year. The two firms recently sold a portion of that assemblage to condo developer Harvey Hernandez.
Kushner also has projects in Miami Gardens and in Miami’s Wynwood and Edgewater neighborhoods.
At the end of last year, the firm sold a six-building multifamily portfolio in New York’s East Village for $57.5 million, a decade after acquiring the properties. In November, Kushner sold another multifamily property in New York for $19.5 million. The firm was once the second-largest owner of apartment buildings in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, but began selling some of its holdings in the city before it began investing heavily in South Florida.