Thank you once again to the Mirador, 1200 for hosting last week’s WAvNA Community Meeting. Thank you to Platinum Properties International for our drinks and pizza! Thank you also to Joseph Magazine and Russell Galbut (and team) for providing the benefits and some of the concerns surrounding the proposed land swap deal.

What is not in debate: irrespective of this deal, our neighborhood will continue to have a community health center (CHC), which currently resides at 710 Alton Road. The facility is critical to our community, it serves many of our more vulnerable residents.
What we heard from Russell:

  • Listening to initial community feedback: the proposed tower has been reduced to 150 ft (from the initially discussed 200′ ft) and there will now be 120 residential units, reduced from 400.
  • The layout of the new building would create a new activation set adjoining the park that could include a small café with outdoor seating.
  • The new library would be a great addition to the local area, where the only option today is Miami Beach’s Regional Library on 22nd Street.
  • It is Russell’s opinion the existing CHC, which is a non-conforming (sinking) Federal building requires full redevelopment and not renovation.

What we heard from Joe:

  • The proposed deal contradicts some of the rationale for supporting the 500 Alton Road development: a large amount of support for that project was predicated on no further development along the 500-800 blocks of Alton Road to ‘avoid impairment of sight lines and view corridors’.
  • In trying to get a sense for how the community felt about this project, many people we spoken to were against ANY type of further development along this corridor.
  • We agree that the community deserves a CHC for our residents that we can be proud of. An alternate approach to full redevelopment, the county stated the existing structure could be repaired at a cost of ~$670K, which the county currently has funds already allocated for.
  • For somewhere between 5-10% of the cost to construct a new health center, the existing center could be refurbished and brought to adequate standards. Will it be as nice as a newly constructed CHC with a library built on top? Doubtful. But in Joe’s opinion, the more the neighborhood is asked to give for a new project, the more viable repairing the existing center becomes.

The concerns that remain:

  • The 15 floor building could be the start of a wall of buildings set inland from the water
  • Traffic flow, with a somewhat convoluted way to enter the new CHC if coming north from the McArthur Causeway (or south of fifth).

We would like to hear your view on where this leaves us. Help provide our elected officials with the viewpoint of the community this decision effects the most: Should we:

  1. Keep status quo, and the County uses funds it already has to repair the CHC. Do not support the land swap deal
  2. Support a City / Developer partnership but ensure the development is much more in scale with the current zoning than what is being proposed, likely requiring the city to make a financial contribution to the development to ensure the returns also make commercial sense for the developer.
  3. Support the land swap deal for a new 150′ tower with the new revisions Russell highlighted above in return for a new CHC and library, and possibly a new park café. 

Vote now: Tell us your opinion of the proposed land swap: a Community Health Center and Library in exchange for a 150 ft. tower. Click here to vote now.

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Commissioner Mark Samuelian