Miami Beach Canopy to mark city’s entrance

July 24, 2019   |   Miami Today

By Rebecca San Juan
The Miami Beach Canopy, French artist Daniel Buren’s latest work, has won unanimous approval from City of Miami Beach commissioners. The transparent cylinder pedestrian bridge and gateway off the MacArthur Causeway is lined with curved glass panels that, when hit by sunlight, will allow pedestrians to walk on color.
The Miami Beach Canopy or the Pedestrian Bridge Project is one component of the changes coming between the 500 to 700 blocks of Alton Road. David Martin’s Terra Group and Russell Galbut’s Crescent Heights united for the Park on Fifth project on 600 Alton Road. A 44-floor residential tower, commercial space with room for retail and a restaurant, and a park will sit behind Bentley Bay Condominiums at 520 West Ave. and the Floridian at 650 West Ave. Terra Group and Crescent Heights promised to deliver the Miami Beach Canopy when commissioners blessed the Park on Fifth project. Arquitectonica, hired by the partnership, leads design efforts for the façade.
Commissioners decide in favor of the exterior concept connecting Fifth Street and West Avenue during the second reading for the design plans last week. The Miami Beach Canopy will allow residents and visitors to circumnavigate most of the city on foot from Lincoln Road to South Pointe.

The structure of the project, approved by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), does not change. The bridge remains at 290 feet in height and offers a switchback staircase with a bike rail and spacious elevator. The project also connects to the park coming to 600 Alton.
The Miami Beach Canopy, titled by Mr. Buren, beats the prior concepts criticized by commissioners and disapproved by FDOT. A series of curved glass panels cover the entire bridge. Above the base, where colored and clear glass decorate the bridge, is a pattern of more colored glass and voids.

The openings in the ceiling will allow for breezes to ventilate the tube. Either end of the bridge looks across the north and south, exposing views of the northern bay walk and southern bay walk.
Florida’s abundance of sunlight inspired Mr. Buren’s canopy. His design allows nature to play a role in illuminating the transparent cylinder and helping cast shadows of color across the walkway and in the street below.
The concept accommodates any future mass transit solution the city may choose and the herds of residents and travelers that frequent the causeway, commissioners were told.
Developers pride themselves in choosing Mr. Buren to capture the city’s identity and commitment to art. Mr. Buren’s work satisfies commissioners’ craving for an artistic design and checks off Department of Transportation requirements.
“What is interesting about this bridge is that it meets the exact DOT criteria,” Mr. Martin said. “The artist grabbed a detail from a standard booklet we issued them and basically designed utilizing that booklet, which is something I was a little nervous about and concerned about how crazy something could have been done.”
Mr. Buren, who has visited Miami several times, is familiar with the location of the bridge. He said of his designs in a video that developers played for commissioners last week, “My work has to do with place, where it is going to be seen. The work has to fit in a very smooth way.”
The city will welcome residents and visitors with the work of a world-renown artist. Mr. Buren is the creative mind behind highly recognizable artistic productions across the globe. His projects include the 260 black and white marble pillars in the Parisian courtyard of the Palais Royal dating to 1986, the Eye of the Storm at the Guggenheim Museum in 2005, the colorful patterning of Nuremberg’s Neues Museum in 2009, and – most recently in 2016 – the observatory of light at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris.
Architect and chief curator for Arquitectonica Terence Riley said of the Miami Beach Canopy, “Buren transforms the space using the simplest forms – color and pattern. In this sense, the work is truly universal. You don’t need to be in the art world, know the history of art, you don’t have to be an expert, you don’t even have to speak French.”
The concept is approved, but some final details remain to be ironed out. The city administration seeks to continue discussion in the July 31 commission meeting. Matters to be discussed include the $10 million budget shrinking to $9,250,000, a separate owner’s contingency of $360,000 resting on the table, and City Manager Jimmy Morales’s right to execute permit applications with regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over the project. Mayor Dan Gelber and the city clerk are also authorized to execute the amendment to the agreement.
Arquitectonica is to return to the city commission in September with additional design details for Mr. Buren’s vision. Architects focus on lighting the bridge in the evening with LED lighting to allow the glass panels to cast colorful shadows in the evening.

Coconut Grove residential prices keep rising

February 5, 2019   |   Miami Today

by Katherine Lewin

Coconut Grove residential realty prices have been increasing over the past several years and the area is considered one of the hottest three hottest for those looking to buy, according to NeighborhoodScout’s data. Also, according to data collected by the David Siddons Group, average prices per square foot rose in 2018 from 2017.

Within the past 24 months, two townhomes went over the $1 million price point on Oak Avenue and overall residential prices have definitely increased, said Joe Higgins, broker for Grove Town Properties Inc. Townhomes going for more than $1 million is a new and “interesting” development in the Grove’s realty scene, he said.

According to Mr. Higgins, Grove Town Properties has been busy in January with four listings that went under contract last month and the Grove “is always going to do well” because it’s a “destination point” for people. The Grove went through an identity crisis and is now finding its redefined identity with new condominiums on Bayshore Drive, the recent opening of Park Grove, a luxury condo building and a high demand for new product being built at higher price points, Mr. Higgins said.

New on the market at Park Grove is a 3,590-square-foot four-bedroom condo with five and a half bathrooms, a private elevator, fully furnished, marble flooring and 12-foot ceilings. The amenities at Park Grove include four pools, a theater, and a gym and sauna. That condo is going for $4,250,000 with Elliman Florida.

There’s a market for product over $1 million and people are willing to pay because of a demand to live in the Grove, Mr. Higgins said. But any single-family homebuyers will have difficulties finding anything under $500,000 that doesn’t need to be torn down or completely renovated in the older parts of the Grove.

This interest in the Grove could be leading sellers and developers to overprice their properties, however. 
Over the past 12 to 18 months, Mr. Higgins said he has noticed a lot of price reductions, which he attributes to sellers overpricing in the beginning.

“There are so many variables when it comes to the market in general, when it comes to listing properties, pricing it to sell and actually getting it sold,” Mr. Higgins said. “Just in general, the Grove is always going to do well based on our location.”

According to Redfin, a real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to help people buy and sell homes, over the past three months the market in Coconut Grove is “not very competitive,” with a score of 7 out of 100. According to Redfin’s data, multiple offers are rare, homes sell for about 7% below their list price and go pending in around 105 days, and popular homes can sell for about 3% below their list price and go pending in around 43 days.

However, the average sale price over the last month is $755,000, up 21.8% since last year, with 7.2% selling under the listing price. The average price over the last month per square foot is $374, up 9% since last year.
“The Coconut Grove market has shown very low levels of inventory in both 2017 as well as in 2018. We are predominantly experiencing a neutral market, which means the market is very balanced and healthy,” according to the David Siddons Group of EWM Realty International. “This is rather normal for the Grove. This section of Miami saw slight increases of inventory in 2015/2016, which were followed with some minor price corrections and the market is now in balance again.

Miami Beach kaleidoscopic bridge inches toward reality

January 28, 2020   |   Miami Today

by Gabriel Poblete

For Miami Beach, a development that’ll lead to a kaleidoscopic bridge to welcome those coming in and out of the city, a 3-acre park with residency features and a 519-foot tower of 330 residential units is inching toward reality.

The Miami Beach commission unanimously approved on first reading the second amendment to its agreement with the developers behind the Park on Fifth project, to rise in the 500 to 700 blocks of Alton Road. If it receives final approval, the revised agreement would see the developers expedite the completion date for the park that is to be conveyed to the city, as well agreeing to more funding for the park and bridge. 

David Martin’s Terra Group and Russell Galbut’s Crescent Heights united for the proposed Park on Fifth project. Along with the bridge and the park, the project would feature a 519-foot residential tower and retail pavilion. As noted in a city memo, the proposed second amendment agreement will reduce the existing permitted 410 residential units to 330. 

The park, which was to be completed by February 2027, could now be finished as early June 1, 2023, under the proposed second amendment agreement. The park would have to be finished within the earlier of either 36 months of issuance of the full building permit or 48 months from the date of execution of the second amendment, with a closing outside date projected for June 1. 

The proposed amended agreement would also include specific sustainability and resiliency elements requested by the city administration. The developer, which is to pay for the project, would agree to spend a minimum of $8 million for the park. 

The terms for the Miami Beach Canopy, the bridge designed by French artist Daniel Buren that’s to welcome drivers entering the city who make their way over the MacArthur Causeway, would also change. Under the prior agreement, the city was to shoulder a maximum contribution of $9.25 million and a city contingency of $360,000. That’ll change to $9,610,000 with no contingency. The developer would be responsible for the rest of the cost, with a new projected budget of more than $12.4 million. 

Under the current agreement, if the bridge budget, now at $10 million, is exceeded, the developer would have the right to a value engineer, either contribute additional funds or seek additional funds from the city, or terminate the first amendment. Under the proposed second amendment, the developer would be responsible for all additional costs of the project, whether or not the project exceeds the proposed budget of $12.4 million. 

Mr. Martin said the bridge is targeted to be done in two years, though a series of utility conflicts with the bridge must be solved.

At the end of the discussion, Mr. Galbut said he was happy with what had gone on that day, commending neighbors who participated in many meetings and gave input. He added that he and his team on the project had not sought added floor area ratio, but rather additional height.  

“We are at the cusp of doing something great,” he said.

Mayor Dan Gelber and commissioners were enthusiastic to see negotiations moving along, with eagerness for the park and bridge to continue progressing. The bridge will play a part in the city’s Baywalk and the park is to serve nearby residents. 

“No one in that area has a backyard,” Mr. Gelber said. “And now they are going to have a common backyard.”

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