Miami Beach residents have rejected three major real estate projects proposed by industry heavyweights Stephen Ross, Barry Sternlichtand Don Peebles. The loss of Ross seemed particularly heartbreaking because the proposal was an apparent passion project of the Related companies president (and Miami Dolphins owner).
Ross’ Miami Beach dreams shattered
Some 53.4% voters rejected Ross‘ attempt to exceed current regulations on the size of buildings, thus halting its plans to redevelop the historic Deauville Beach Resorta MiMo-style property, which served as a place of The Beatles’ famous performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964.
The New York developer wanted to increase the land occupation coefficient, a way of regulating the size of a building, for the Deauville lot in 6701 Collins Avenue and two adjacent plots. If the ballot measure had passed, Related would have developed a Equinox-Brand complex with two luxury towers, comprising 125 condos and 175 hotel rooms. (Linked owns Equinox.)
The development seemed like a passion project for Ross, who partly grew up in the city. “As a native of Miami Beach, this project is personal to me. I know what this site means to the people of Miami Beach,” Ross said when announcing his offer to purchase in May.
The billionaire developer has hired a world-renowned architect Frank Gehry to design the new complex. In July, Ross also spoke at a Miami Beach City Commission meeting, where he outlined his plans for “a world-class project.” Yes for a safe and strong futurea political action committee linked to related companies, spent over a million dollars in favor of the referendum.
Ross’ plans for the Deauville venue are unclear after the loss. The sale was contingent on voters approving the height increase. When reached for comment, representatives for Ross and Related provided a statement from Yes For A Safe and Strong Future.
“While we are disappointed with the outcome, we know North Beach deserves an economic engine, not an eyesore. We appreciate the tremendous support we have received from thousands of people who have supported a true vision for a better North Beach and who still believe there is a better future ahead of us,” the statement read.
Regardless of Tuesday’s vote, the Deauville property will be demolished. The station has been closed since 2017, following an electrical fire. It has fallen into such disrepair that a Miami Beach official deemed the complex structurally unsafe and ordered its destruction last January. A Miami-Dade circuit judge later upheld the order. Demolition is scheduled for Sunday.
More offices on Lincoln Road
Ross wasn’t the only developer to lose in Miami Beach.
Companies run by Sternlicht’s Capital Starwood and Peebles’ Peebles Corporation both sought 99-year leases to build competing mixed-use, high-density office projects on city-owned land near Lincoln Road, a pedestrian shopping street in Miami Beach. As with Ross, voters rejected each of the proposed leases by 53%.
If approved, the leases would have generated $355 million for the city over 99 years, as shown on the ballots. Developers saw an opportunity to build boutique offices in Miami Beach in part to serve billionaires, who moved to the island city during the pandemic and are now seeking offices close to their residences.
To 1688 Lenox Avenue and 1080 Lincoln Lane NorthStarwood’s projects with its partners Integra Investments and The Comra company called for a 100-foot-tall structure that would include offices, ground-level retail (including 1,000 square feet leased to a nonprofit) and public parking to replace the existing surface land .
Just three blocks east, 1664 meridian avenuePeebles — with two partners, local developer Scott Robin and former mayor of Miami Beach Philip Levin — wanted to develop a six-storey building with Class A offices, 43 residential apartments at market price, commercial space on the ground floor and public parking to replace the existing 151 spaces.
A representative for the Starwood joint venture had no immediate statement. Don Peebles did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Those who passed
Miami Beach residents have approved some real estate-related referendums — those not directly related to developers.
Voters agreed to increase the floor space ratio for beachfront hotels in the southern Fifth Ward that want to convert to residential buildings. Residents also gave the green light to an increase in the floor area ratio for some office and residential buildings east of Washington Avenue between First and Second Streets if the landlord agrees to ban hotels and rentals at short term on the property.
Residents also passed a ballot initiative that asked voters whether the municipality should seek voter approval before selling or renting city-owned properties for more than 10 years. The measure affects properties between West 43rd Street and West 40th Street, and from Pine Tree Drive in the east to Alton Road in the west.
Unlike Miami Beach, Developers Win in Miami
Across the bay from Miami, developers had better luck on Tuesday. Sixty-four percent of voters approved a 99-year lease extension for a waterfront site in downtown Miami, paving the way for a $1.5 billion development.
Hyatt Hotels and Miami-based developer Gencom plan to demolish James L. Knight Center and build three skyscrapers. Called Miami River Bridge, the development would include 1,542 rental apartments in total, as well as 615 hotel rooms and 264 serviced apartments. Annual rent will increase from $250,000 to at least $2.5 million. The joint venture has also pledged to contribute $25 million to affordable housing initiatives, details of which have yet to be released.
“Miami Riverbridge will improve access to and from the Hyatt Regency Miami site, activate Miami’s waterfront, and meet the growing demand for accommodations, hotel rooms, and more meeting space in our downtown core. “, James Frankglobal head of transactions for Hyatt, and Phil KebGencom’s executive vice president of development, said in a joint statement.
Julia Echikson can be contacted at [email protected].