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Miami board OKs Merrick Towers

Written by John Charles Robbins on August 10, 2021


Miami board OKs Merrick Towers

A developer plans to construct two companion 20-story buildings and a parking garage to contain residential units, office space and commercial-retail uses near Coral Gables and invokes the name of Gables founder George Merrick.

The property is at 3898 Shipping Ave., in the City of Miami’s southern region near Coral Gables and close to the Douglas Road Metrorail Station.

The city’s Urban Development Review Board recommended approval of plans by owner-developer 3898 Shipping Ave LLC. The project is called Merrick Towers.

The entire floor area will be 387,568 square feet, home to 268 residences, 32,200 square feet of offices, 6,342 square feet of ground floor retail and open space of about 5,911 square feet. A connected parking podium will have room for 288 vehicles.

Of the dwellings planned, 60 will be smaller micro units.

The developer is seeking a warrant approval, required by Miami zoning, to permit the planned 60 micro dwelling units. Pursuant to Miami zoning, the minimum unit size for micro units is 275 square feet and the maximum is 400 square feet.

The average proposed micro dwelling at the project is 394 square feet.

The project was designed by architectural firm Atelier305.

Attorney Carlos R. Lago, representing the developer, said the property is at the intersection of Shipping and Southwest 39th avenues in an area that has recently experienced a significant increase in multi-family residential, office and commercial development. The site currently contains a surface parking lot and an outdated industrial building.

The property is bounded by Southwest 39th Avenue to the west, Shipping Avenue to the north and Southwest 38th Court to the east, and has three frontages.

In a letter about the project Mr. Lago said: “The Property’s location makes it the ideal candidate for the proposed mixed-use development. The Property is located within a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) area and is within walking distance of the Douglas Road Metrorail Station.

“The Property is also within walking distance of the Village of Merrick Park’s shops and restaurants, various office buildings and the under-construction Underline park network.

“The Property also provides convenient access to major thoroughfares such as South Dixie Highway (to the south) and Bird Road (to the north),” he wrote.

Mr. Lagos said the project has been designed to provide additional diverse housing options including micro units, and to enhance the pedestrian experience in the area.

“The Project provides active ground floor retail uses which encourage pedestrian interaction and activation in an area which currently lacks pedestrian amenities like sidewalks.

“Additionally, all parking for the Project is screened from view. The Project utilizes one level of basement (below grade) parking which limits the height of the parking podium to five (5) stories. As depicted in the Site Plan, the proposed parking Podium is masked with Habitable Liners along the Primary Frontage,” Mr. Lago said.

The developer is requesting waivers to permit substitution of one commercial loading berth for two residential loading berths; to permit up to a 30% reduction in the required number of parking spaces pursuant where the property is within the half-mile radius of public transit; to permit an up to 10% reduction in the required rear setback above the eighth story.

“I think it’s a good-looking building,” said board member Ligia Ines Labrada.

Board member Ignacio Permuy said he wanted to commend the architect. “You did a very good job on the massing, the articulation … I’m for this project. I like the pedestrian experience,” he said.


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