A family-owned company that has brought hundreds of new apartments to downtown Miami is planning another major mixed-use residential project in downtown, helping to ease the city’s major housing need.
Owner-developer 6 Plaza LLC plans a 54-story multi-family residential tower with ground floor retail at 530 NE First Ave. and 46 NE First St. 6 Plaza LLC is affiliated with the Mello Group.
The project, known as Downtown 6, will be home to 824 residential units, 2,427 square feet of commercial space and parking for up to 639 vehicles.
The city’s Urban Development Review Board has recommended approval of the project with some recommendations.
Iris Escarra, an attorney representing the developer, said the property is within the city’s urban core in the Central Business District, immediately south of the rapidly growing Miami WorldCenter development.
The site is bounded by Northeast Sixth Street to the north, Northeast First Avenue to the east, the historically named Central Baptist Church and the site of the recently completed Downtown 5 project to the south and the proposed Oaken Tower development to the west.
The property has 35,910 sq ft or 0.824 acres of land which is currently vacant.
The site plan for Downtown 6 was prepared by Mello Architecture.
In a letter to the city, Ms Escarra wrote: “The property’s location makes it an ideal candidate for the proposed mixed-use development. The property is located within walking distance of major educational and government facilities including the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, the James L. King Federal Government Office Building, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
“The property is uniquely served by an extensive network of major public transportation facilities and transit corridors. The property is located just one block north of the College North Metromover station, one block east of the Brightline MiamiCentral Transportation Hub, which offers connections to Metrorail, Metromover, Brightline and soon, Tri-Rail service and within walking distance to Government Center Metrorail station.
“This property also provides convenient access to major thoroughfares such as Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami Avenue and NE First Avenue,” Ms. Escara said.
The parking podium will be masked with habitable liners along the primary frontage (NE First Avenue) and with an artistic treatment along the secondary frontage (NE Sixth Street).
The developer is requesting a zoning exemption to allow:
■ Substitution of one industrial loading berth for two commercial loading berths.
■ Reduction in drive aisle width from 23 ft to 21 ft up to 10%.
■10% increase in maximum lot coverage.
■Parking to encroach in the second layer, above the first floor, with secondary façade, with an art or glass treatment approved by the Director of City Planning.
■ 10% increase in maximum building floorplate length above the eighth floor from 180 feet to 198 feet.
Ms. Escara told the review board that the project is a rental building in a rapidly developing “hot” area of the city.
Board member Robert Behr said he and other board members have been critical of Mello in the past.
He said, “I want to tell you this, in the past we have been very hard on you guys, but I think for the first time you are bringing a melo building (which begins That’s what I’m looking for.”
Ms. Escara replied, “We try to get better every time.”
“I like the verticality, the articulation of the building,” Mr. Behr said. He mentioned the 3D screening of the garage and said he was having a little trouble with it.
“We can continue to work on it,” Ms. Escara said.
President Ignacio Paramuy said, “You’ve done a great job. I love the beauty of the verticality, and I especially love the anchoring of the main tower.”
The newest board member, Agustín Barrera, said: “I like the tower (but) the podium garage seems inconsistent with the overall design. I would love it if the horizontal lines (on the building’s facade) continued across.”
Board member Anthony Zamatzis said he found the building’s design very spacious and monolithic.
“It’s very intense vertically and lacks some expression,” he said.
“Make the main corner a little more prominent, bring attention to your entrance,” said board member Gia Zapattini.
The vote was 6 to 0 to recommend approval.