Wynwood redevelopment plan gets first approval in Miami

Jun 30, 2015

article courtesy of bizjournals.com

The plan to rezone much of the emerging Wynwood neighborhood is headed to the Miami Commission after the city’s planning board approved it on Wednesday night.

Originally a warehouse district, Wynwood now draws throngs of visitors to its restaurants, art galleries, and street art. Retailers are also moving in. However, current zoning rules make it difficult to build residential and hotels in much of the neighborhood, which is northwest of downtown Miami.

The Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District Plan would increase the residential density to 150 units per acre, or double that for hotels. Developers could built smaller units, such as 650-square-foot studio apartments. When developers purchase Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs), they must do so from other properties within the neighborhood. Most properties could go up to five stories, with TDR purchases possbility reaching eight stories. Along North Miami Avenue, Northwest 29th Street and Northwest 20th Street, buildings of eight to 12 stories could be built.

New sidewalks would have a 10-foot minimum width and new developments would be required to incorporate art or glass treatments. A new design review committee for Wynwood would review the design of proposed projects to ensure they vibe with the neighborhood.

“After two years of working with property owners and the City of Miami, we are excited that the Wynwood NRD Plan has reached this important milestone,” said David Polinsky, board member and planning committee chair for the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID). “This plan will ensure Wynwood’s continued evolution as vibrant neighborhood with a diverse fabric of people, businesses and organizations rooted in creativity.”

Developers such as Goldman Properties, Moishe Mana, Thor Equities, and RedSky Capital have major parcels in Wynwood.

Akerman attorney Steven Wernick, who represents Goldman Properties, said many investors in Wynwood are waiting for the new zoning to be approved before filing their plans. He predicts that the development would mostly be on vacant parcels or unused industrial buildings, while the properties that are currently thriving with business will mostly remain. The sale or TRDs would provide an incentive for existing properties to remain, although they could purchase other TRDs from within Wynwood at a later date.

"This initiative really builds off what is going on with Wynwood to retain and celebrate the one-story warehouse structures but allow for more density and residential uses," Wernick said. "By allowing for residential development it brings the customers immediately to Wynwood and provides the customer base for all the restaurants and shops."

Wernick said the BID hopes to get final approval for the zoning in September. Meanwhile, the BID is also exploring the creation of an exit ramp into Wynwood from Interstate 95, Wernick said. That would give people on the highway easier access to Wynwood and also open it up to people on the west side of the highway, such as in the Health District.

PlusUrbia designed the plan. See more information about the zoning changeshere.

Lombardi Properties