Developer Provides Public Beach Access in Planned Beach Condo

October 10, 2017

A Brazilian developer who angered Mid-Beach residents with plans for a 17-story oceanfront condominium has relented on one key bone of contention from neighbors across the street: a public beach access path running on the side of the property.

But some residents still are still concerned about losing ocean views and sunlight afforded by the thin profile of the existing building.

Developer Jose Isaac Peres, a billionaire who founded Brazilian shopping mall operator Multiplan, wants to tear down the 12-story Marlborough House at 5775 Collins Avenue and build an 89-unit tower. Adjacent condo towers have not objected, but residents across Collins Avenue were upset the developer wasn’t willing to build a walkway to the beach. Residents also lamented the loss of existing ocean views and light corridors if the building wasn’t rotated so the broad side wouldn’t face Collins.

The project went before the city’s Design Review Board in early September, who asked the developer to consider changes before coming back in December. City planners recommended the developer include a walking path to the beach.

Now, the developer has resubmitted plans that include a 15-foot beach access on the south side of the property.

James Murphy, Miami Beach’s chief of urban design, described the path as a “well-designed and wide pedestrian linkage” between the east sidewalk of Collins and the sand.

On Monday, an attorney for the developer told the Miami Herald the plans changed after the design review hearing in September.

“Following the hearing, the applicant listened to the concerns of both the staff and the board and has acted accordingly,” said attorney Michael Larkin. “First and foremost, the applicant is creating public beach access through a linear park, complete with lamp posts and benches. This will be a 15-foot-wide path — designed with a slight curvature and comprising a five-foot-wide walkway, flanked by extensive landscaping along the south and north sides.”

Larkin added that the width of the proposed building has been reduced by five feet, creating a wider south setback and creating a wider view corridor than originally planned.

“Furthermore, the façade of the building has been slightly modified — now accented with a subtle ripple/undulation, one that gives the exterior of the building a more asymmetrical design,” Larkin said.

City staff also want the developer to consider rotating the building to preserve the view corridors allowed by the thinner Marlborough House, but the new plans keep the building’s broadside parallel to the ocean and Collins, which still blocks out some sunlight and ocean views for a few buildings across the street.

The Design Review Board will review the project again Dec. 5.

For some residents, like Helen Mittelman, it’s not even necessarily about a view of the sea.

“It’s the light,” said Mittelman, 62, who lives in the Seacoast 5700 Condominium across the street in a unit with a westward view overlooking Indian Creek, away from the ocean. “I want my light. I want my air. I want to be able to see sky.”

Eda Valero, who also lives in the Seacoast building, said on Monday she was pleased with the details of the revised plan, including the revised architecture.

“I think that it’s wonderful that we will have the pathway to the beach,” she said. “It’s also wonderful that they made the facade a little less sober.” – Joey Flechas

Published October 9, 2017 in The Miami Herald

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