July 25, 2020 | RE Miami Beach
by Susan Askew
The wait is finally over for neighbors of the vacant South Shore Hospital site. The developers of the 500 Alton Road project, which sits at one of the gateways to Miami Beach, have begun construction on an adjacent 3-acre public park, one of the key public benefits promised in exchange for approval to build a tall narrow luxury residential tower on the southern end of the property. The park, dubbed Canopy Park, is located in the 600 and 700 blocks. It will include open greenspaces, a native tree canopy, pedestrian and bike paths, an outdoor gym and dog run, a MONSTRUM-designed children’s playground, and public art displays.
David Martin of Terra and Russell Galbut of Crescent Heights and development partners New Valley expect to begin construction on The Canopy Club (previously known as Park on Fifth), a 519-foot residential tower in 2021.
In their development agreement with the City, the developers agreed to an expedited construction schedule for the park which will also include a number of sustainability and resiliency features. According to an announcement of the park, those features include:
Habitat Restoration: “The planting selections and open space areas have been designed to encourage habitat areas for birds, bats, native bees, and other pollinators.” New plantings will include 221 trees and 121 palms with over 70 percent native trees, all low maintenance and drought tolerant.
Vegetation, Biodiversity and Native Plant Communities: “In addition to the extensive tree canopy throughout the park, a maritime hammock, consisting of 2.6 times the required ground cover by code, will anchor the north end of the park.”
Irrigation, Water Conservation, and Rainwater Management: The park includes a weather-based irrigation controller and rain sensors to “limit watering during the rainy season. A 25,000-gallon cistern will capture excess runoff during major storm events and irrigate plantings throughout the year with a capacity to irrigate the park completely on collected rainwater for one week before needing replenishment.” Green infrastructure solutions include bioswales and rain gardens for site filtration and to manage rainwater.
The focus on the natural environment carries over to the children’s playground by Danish design firm MONSTRUM. It will include a giant butterfly, a mangrove forest and a caterpillar slide.
“Canopy Park will be a gateway for the City of Miami Beach, a destination for visitors, and an everyday amenity for residents, so we’ve taken the time to assemble a team of design, art and planning visionaries who have led some of the most transformational projects in the world,” said David Martin, President of Terra. “The end result will be an active park and design experience that rivals public spaces in the world’s greatest cities.”
The team working on the park includes architects Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Raymond Fort of Arquitectonica; landscape architect Laurinda Spear of ArquitectonicaGEO; design advisors Daniel Vasini of West 8, Anda Andrei of Anda Andrei Design, and Michael Gabellini and Kim Sheppard of Gabellini Sheppard Associates; and art advisor Lisa Austin.
“World class cities and neighborhoods are defined by their public spaces, and Miami Beach is home to some of most desirable parks and open spaces anywhere,” said City of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “Our City’s newest public green space, Canopy Park, will quickly become a welcomed amenity for nearby residents and a favorite gathering spot for our entire community.”
The development also includes a pedestrian bridge over 5th Street – The Miami Beach Canopy – connecting the Baywalk South of Fifth with the West Avenue neighborhood. Designed by artist Daniel Buren, its subtitle is Walking Under, Along, and On the Colors: work in-situ by Daniel Buren. Construction of the pedestrian bridge is “anticipated for 2022,” according to the developers.
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