Miami Beach News Roundup – August 16, 2013

South Beach Bike Week

South Beach Bike Week

South Beach Bike Week: A party on two wheels

[Miami Herald]

While the motorcycle rally has the potential to lure thousands of attendees during the slow tourist month of August, the city of Miami Beach and the Ocean Drive Association did not exactly roll out the red carpet, according to the Bike Week’s founder and organizer, Diego Caiola.

“Since it was not like an antique show, or a 5K, the city was a bit standoffish about it,” Caiola said. “We couldn’t get any street closures. It’s not an event that many of the city workers wanted. We’ve had to do everything in private venues.”

Scaled Down. Public Outcry Pushes Downsizing of Watson Island Development

[Miami Sun Post]

Jorge Perez, Darlene Perez and Philip Levine

Jorge Perez, Darlene Perez and Philip Levine (source: BinnShot)

In an abrupt about-face and under the specter of potential costly litigation and perhaps a tough battle for public approval of his vision, Related developer Jorge Perez announced that he was withdrawing from a development partnership that was to see tiny Watson Island transformed into a veritable mini-Manhattan.

“I think that it was clear that the City of Miami Beach was preparing for a fight over the development, that the previous referendum was several years ago, and that there would certainly need to be another referendum before any development could move forward,” said Steve Berke, a mayoral candidate. “I think it was made very clear to Mr. Perez that this was the case by Miami Beach residents and officials, and he was left with no doubt that this would be a long and costly venture if he were to pursue it at this time. Therefore, as far as I can see, Philip Levine played no substantial part at all in Mr. Perez’ decision to stand down.”

“What is significant about the Watson Island project is that Related and Commissioner Sarnoff thought they could get away with a massive expansion of the project without public input,” Gongora continued. “If not for the quick reaction by the City of Miami Beach administration and the support I received from my colleagues on the Miami Beach Commission to opposing the project, Related and their partners would have kept moving the project along.  That is why I took an early stance against this proposed mega development.

Miami Beach Sets Straw Vote For Medical Marijuana In November

[Miami New Times]

The Miami Beach petition drive began in 2010, seeking to stop arresting individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Instead, pot smokers would get hit with civil fines. Several states and cities around the country have passed similar local laws. With support from Miami Beach documentary film production company Rakontur, and real estate developer Todd Glaser, Sensible Florida’s volunteers collected more than 8,000 signatures. But Sensible Florida had to sue the city because Miami Beach officials kept delaying putting the measure on a ballot. Stevens says the city attorney’s office proposed the straw ballot as a compromise.

Miami Beach Convention Center Plans Unfold


Rendering of proposed Miami Beach Convention Center (source: South Beach ACE)

Rendering of proposed Miami Beach Convention Center (source: South Beach ACE)

The hotel’s curved design aims to blend in with Miami Beach’s renowned Miami Modernist architecture. Plans also call for a rooftop pool deck with ocean views and a penthouse lounge overlooking the City.

“Beyond being a new design landmark for the City of Miami Beach, our convention center and hotel complex will allow for new public spaces that appeal to visitors and residents alike,” says Robert Wennett, ACE principal and president of UIA. “The business community here is excited about the potential economic impact that this project will bring to the rest of the City.”

A significant portion of the 52-acre site will include a network of connected green spaces and recreational areas, including a public plaza that connects the convention center and hotel withLincoln Road Mall to the south and significant outdoor event areas. About 90,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space has been designed to enhance connectivity with Lincoln Road Mall. The team’s mobility and traffic plan hopes to encourage pedestrian activity and improve vehicular flow on surrounding streets.

Sequester Hits Home

[Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower Newsletter]

Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower

Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower

Former United States House of Representatives Speaker “Tip” O’Neal liked to say that “All politics is local.” Many of you have heard about the Federal “Sequester”, but did not think Miami Beach would be affected, but we are.

The Federal Sequester is a host of automatic spending cuts to the federal budget, imposed because Congress could not reach consensus on cutting close to 1.2 trillion dollars of spending over the next nine years. The cuts were evenly split between defense spending and “non-obligatory” domestic spending with some notable exemptions: spending on wars and entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid.

Miami Beach has felt the cuts, as the two programs that provide meals to our elderly, frail and homebound populations have seen their funding reduced in waves beginning in May of this year. Jewish Community Services of South Florida and Little Havana Activities & Nutrition Centers provide hundreds of seniors every week with a hot meal, a take-home frozen dinner or meals delivered to their door. In many cases, these well-balanced meals are the only food our seniors get.

I am very concerned about these cuts, and the effect they have on taking care of our seniors in a respectful manner. With the help of local companies, such as Southern Waste Systems, I have been able to raise funds to help offset the federal program cuts. I know several of my colleagues on the Commission have either raised funds from the private sector, or reached into their personal pockets to provide money to keep the meals being served to as many seniors as possible.

The City too, is doing its part by approving an emergency appropriation to the two Centers to help feed as many seniors as possible.

Don Peebles pursuing two Miami projects

[Miami Herald]

…Peebles, who was behind Miami Beach’s Royal Palm hotel project and the Bath Club condo tower, is eyeing two projects in the Miami area.

The first is a 16-story, and only 13-unit condo complex he would build on beachfront land on the 6700 block of Collins Avenue . Peebles is in the process of closing on the real estate. Prices haven’t been set yet, but they are expected to start at $6 million.

Looking to expand in Miami, Virgin Hotels opens local office

[Miami Herald]

Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal said the company, which launched two and a half years ago, plans to open its first property in Chicago next year. New York will follow in 2016.

Virgin Hotels, which is part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group empire, would like to have at least two hotels in Miami-Dade, specifically in Miami Beach and the Brickell area. The company would be interested in putting a hotel in Fort Lauderdale as well, Leal said.

Abu Dhabi fund could buy Beach’s Edition hotel

[The Real Deal]

An Abu Dhabi government fund is close to buying three Marriott Edition hotels, a lifestyle brand being developed with hotelier Ian Schrager, including the Miami Beach Edition, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the deal.

Lord Balfour South Beach Celebrates Opening

[Community Newspapers]

Lord Balfour, 350 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach.

Lord Balfour, 350 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. (source: Lord Balfour Hotel)

The Lord Balfour is a boutique hotel of 64 rooms and suites located in the South of Fifth neighborhood of Miami Beach. Lord Balfour first opened its doors in 1940 as an influx of tourists that began streaming to Miami Beach, with an enthusiasm for the warm and sunny climate, taking its name after the former Prime Minister of England. Making a nod to history and tradition with a wink to the Brits, the hotel will on take on its original moniker, and pay homage in a contemporary way, from the witty design elements to cheeky British offerings.

Jones Lang LaSalle Arranges Sale of Park Central and Royal Polo Hotels in Miami Beach

[Hotel Resource News]

On behalf of Goldman Properties the JLL team arranged the fee simple interest in the Park Central Hotel. The 125-key hotel, which encompasses three buildings and the only undeveloped land parcel on Ocean Drive, is the largest compilation of real estate on Ocean Drive.

On behalf of Royal Polo, LLC, the JLL team arranged the sale of the Royal Polo Hotel to Baywood Hotels. Located at the northern end of Miami Beach’s famous South Beach neighborhood at 29th and Collins Avenue, the property consists of a 0.21± acre land parcel developed with a seven-story building. The hotel is currently in “shell condition” and has been approved for 96 rooms, a full-service restaurant and a lounge.

Luxe Miami Beach residential roars ahead. Double-digit gains for $500K-plus single-family homes and condos

[The Real Deal]

The average sales price of a single-family home in this category rose 14.1 percent, from $2.21 million to $2.52 million, while the sales price per square foot rose 11.2 percent, from $480 to $534.

During the same period, the average sales price of a luxury Miami Beach condo rose to $1.49 million from $1.41 million, a 6.5 percent increase, while average sales per square foot rose 5.6 percent, from $765 to $808.

John Kunkel’s Latest Venture, Patpong Road

[Miami Eater]

Khong River House Restaurant (source: Khong River House_

Khong River House Restaurant (source: Khong River House)

There’s a new addition to the ever-expanding and exciting 50 Eggs empire: John Kunkel’s latest concept called Patpong Road and it’s opening August 23, right above the trendy Khong River House. A press release notes that Patpong will be a “Bangkok chic” bar, inspired by Thailand’s Red Light District and aimed at bringing Miamians a taste of the “sexier, grittier” side of Thailand.

Pinkberry Expands to Midtown, Alton Road; Welcome Grapefruit Frozen Yogurt

[Miami New Times]

For those of you who live in South Beach but don’t stray from the west side of town, good news is traveling your way with the addition of another Pinkberry on Alton Road in the works (further details aren’t available, but the expected opening is December 2013).