If Miami Beach residents approve, two development projects would convert three parking lots off Lincoln Road into apartments, plus office and retail space.
The city-approved plans are part of a larger effort to diversify the community’s economy amid South Florida’s migration of professionals working largely for tech and financial services companies.
Miami Beach voters will decide in either August or November whether the city should enter into public-private partnerships with two development teams, said Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola, sponsor of the plan to build on the three surface parking lots. The city needs at least 50% of voters to approve it.
Developers proposed two buildings with 43 apartments, 187,000 square feet of office space, 33,000 square feet of retail and 715 parking spaces, more than double the number of existing spaces. The buildings would rise up to 80 feet.
Miami Beach officials approved two bids in February after receiving 18 submissions. The move comes two years after the commission first issued a request for proposals in late 2020 and later issued a formal call for bids.
Lincoln Road Property Owners — comprised of Integra Investments, Starwood Capital Group and the Comras Company — plan to redevelop the lot between 17th Street and Lenox Avenue and 1040 Lincoln Road into two buildings with office and retail space.
The Peebles Corporation, Scott Robins Companies and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine aim to convert the lot at 1664 Meridian Ave. into a building with apartment rental, office and retail space.
“The city is doing everything it can to diversify the local economy,” Arriola said. “We are taking surface parking lots that are not the best use of public land into something that will make it into an economic engine for the city.”
Developers would undergo the site plan and design review approval steps once receiving support from residents, Arriola said. Construction would start in 2023 and the developments would be completed in 2026.
The Lincoln Road Property Owners said in a joint statement, “This development will position Miami Beach to attract new businesses, create sought-after jobs, spur additional private sector investment and create new revenue that will enable Miami Beach to continue investing in infrastructure and quality of life initiatives.”
The housing piece will benefit the community, Scott Robins Companies President Scott Robins said, because “people want to live close to their office.”
Demand in Miami Beach is anticipated to remain high for office space. “The world that we live in is full of risk,” but “we are not talking about a ton of space,” said Bob Orban, principal in the Miami office of commercial real estate market analytics firm Cresa.
Businesses will benefit from an increase in the daytime population, said retail expert Beth Azor of Azor Advisory Services in Weston.
Some Lincoln Road business owners are looking at the long-term gain, despite a potential shortage of parking spaces during construction, including V&E Restaurant Group CEO Matias Pesce. His firm owns restaurants Vida & Estilo, Havana 1957, La Cerveceria de Barrio and Cortadito Coffee House.
“The shortage of parking may have an impact on guest traffic,” Pesce said, “but we know it will be for the best.”
Another challenge would be a lack of affordable and workforce housing, Orban said.
Robins said he and his partners are in talks with the Beach officials to possibly include affordable or workforce housing.
“For the people that work for these financial services firms that are going to answer phones and type documents,” Orban said, “it would be more attractive in terms of having something affordable close to their place of work.”