A global network of private schools plans to build a school in the city of Miami, near Little Haiti, on property that for many years housed Archbishop Curley High.
Avenues – The Global School is scheduled for 4949 NE Second Ave.
It will be a new school campus that will serve children from daycare to high school.
The promoter-candidate is identified as AVE FL 1 Operating LLC TRS Land Trust.
The city’s Urban Development Review Board approved the project with conditions.
The council was informed that the project will be phased and will include an early learning building, a primary school building, a secondary school building, a gym/pool complex, a garage and a 180 bedroom dormitory. Open space on campus would be approximately 328,242 square feet.
The total floor area is calculated at 680,850 square feet, and the tallest structure would be five stories.
A plan shows parking for 491 vehicles and space to park up to 25 bicycles.
The Miami Jewish Hospital is directly west of the property and the FEC Railroad is to the east. The property is the former campus of Archbishop Curley.
The property was an educational campus from the establishment of Archbishop Curley in 1953 until the school closed after the 2017 school year. As such, the property has a history of nearly 70 years as a educational institution that coexisted with the surrounding neighborhoods.
Attorney Iris Escarra, representing the developer, wrote, “Avenues World School seeks to continue the educational history of this property by developing a new campus. Avenues World School is planned to be an integrated “learning community” with a centralized vision, curriculum, technology, faculty professional development, and oversight by a central team. »
Ms Escarra said the non-parochial school has campuses in New York, San Francisco, Brazil, Asia and elsewhere.
She said the Miami campus on the property will join the New York campus and others being opened around the world.
The applicant is proposing a K-12 school on the property that will meet a need in the community, Ms. Escarra said. The early learning center will be the first built.
She wrote, “The surrounding neighborhoods including Little Haiti, the Design District, Midtown, Wynwood, Edgewater, Morningside and the Biscayne Corridor have seen a rapid increase in development over the past few years, with exponential population growth.
“While the number of apartments, condominiums, offices and commercial uses has increased, the number of school options has not kept pace. The school options available have been further limited with the closure of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School. The plaintiff proposes a use that will remedy the situation,” Ms. Escarra said.
The Miami 21 zoning code permits educational uses on the property on an exceptional basis and dormitory uses.
She told council that the exception is appropriate because the project will provide an indispensable educational use that will serve the community.
The project offers 2,440 students, 347 faculty members, and dormitories to accommodate 288 students.
Ms. Escarra said the lot size was 683,839 square feet, or 15,699 acres.
She said the project must also be submitted for approval by the city’s Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board.
A school representative said, “Avenues School is an urban school. It has no high walls. It engages the street and the community a lot,” referring to a site plan.
All vehicles dropping off and picking up students will perform on site, to avoid congesting traffic on nearby streets, he said.
Board member Willy Bermello noted that the developer team is advancing good connectivity, but the proposed student accommodation “is totally disconnected from campus…how are you going to reconcile that?”
Board member Neil Hall said: ‘The reason Curley closed was because they didn’t have enough students. Where do these students come from?
He referred to the impact on poor neighborhoods when big budget projects take hold.
“It’s a minority community…it’s become a black community – it’s not a white community, and now you’re offering a school on par with Ransom and Gulliver, and that sends a different kind of message that’s very disturbing for me,” Mr. Hall said.
Ms Escarra said students would come from all walks of life and said Avenues Schools offers financial aid.
“They have a significant number of scholarship programs. And they are extremely enthusiastic about creating and connecting with the community around them,” she said. The potential student body will come from many areas, she said, including neighborhood kids who can walk to campus.
Mr. Hall said: “I hope when you have this wonderful school here, I hope there will be ways to help this community.
Ms Escarra replied: “We understand and we hear you loud and clear.
New board member Gia Zapattini said: “Connectivity to the neighborhood is lacking… The floor plan is almost like creating a barrier. See how you can explore ways that invite the neighborhood in.
Mr. Bermello said: “Words are important. You say it’s an urban school (but) we want to see connectivity… You have great vision but there’s a disconnect between what you say and what I see.
Ms Zapattini said: “It doesn’t look like an urban school. Two or three floors doesn’t seem very urban to me.
Ms Escarra said zoning limits them to five floors.
Mr. Bermello expressed concern about the impact of the large project on four adjacent single-family homes. He put forward a motion to recommend the project be approved on the condition that the developer work to mitigate the impact on nearby residential properties, with a wall or landscaping and more, “and would like a study more in-depth connectivity between the dorm and the campus.”
Before applying for a building permit for the student dormitory, he said, the developer must provide the planning director with proof that connectivity with the campus is improved and established.
Mr Bermello added: “My heart goes out to you, and I congratulate you, you come back and fill a hole in this part of town… I wish you all the success in the world.”