Affordable housing and spaces for local businesses have been scarce in South Miami’s historically black neighborhood..
But the city is moving forward with plans for a commercial and residential complex, named Madison Square, to be built on three sites locates south of Southwest 64th Street and west of 62nd Avenue.
The Community Redevelopment Agency board on Monday discussed three letters of interest from companies interested in developing the properties.
“Time and time again, residents have been wanting to see commercial development in the Madison Square project,” said South Miami Commissioner Bob Welsh, a member of the CRA board. “We need affordable rent for our local tenants at Madison Square. I believe we need a lot of commercial.”
The three companies proposed buildings up to three stories high where apartments and houses would face the streets while the parking spaces would be behind the buildings. All proposals reserve the projects for low-income families earning 60 percent or less of Miami-Dade County’s median income. The projects would likely be subsidized through federal and state tax credits.
But the proposals differed in number of units, prices and design.
Green Mills, a development company located in Fort Lauderdale, proposed 41 units, 82 parking spots with rents ranging from $883 to $1,023.
“We want to work closely with the community and the CRA to develop something that is appropriate, something that’s needed by the community and something that’s lasting for the community,” said Mitchell Rosenstein, founder and principal of Green Mills.
They planned two three-story mixed-used buildings facing 64th Street –– with two bedroom and two bathroom apartments upstairs and spaces for businesses in the first floor. Townhomes would face 59th Place and 60th Avenue.
Green Mills did not plan to build on the third site, located south of 64th Terrace, saying it would be more appropriate to develop a community garden or a small park.
Green Mills’ project would cost $11.1 million and would be finished by December 2015.
Gorman & Co., a national company with an office in Miami, proposed 65 units and 148 parking spaces throughout the three CRA sites dedicated to Madison Square.
“These are very flexible buildings,” said Hana Eskra, Florida market president of the company. “If we need to make some adjustments that would be very flexible.”
Gorman’s apartments would range from 1 to 4 bedrooms and 1 – with the highest residential buildings facing 64th Street.
The company's remaining four buildings would be live-work units with apartments connected to a business space. The apartment entrance would face the parking lot and the business entrance would face the street.
The site located south of 64th Terrace would also have a third residential building with one story apartments with entrances from the streets.
Gorman did not include the total price of their project, rental prices for the units or the time of completion.
Housing Trust Group, a local development company from Coconut Grove, proposed 61 units, 108 parking spots, and rents ranging from $328 and $899.
“We believe that this development will serve as a catalyst for economic development to the immediate surrounding area, the CRA district, and the city of South Miami as a whole,” said Elena Adames, vice president of development.
The two sites east of 60th Avenue would have 2- to 3-story apartment buildings and townhomes with 1 to 3 bedrooms. The third site, south of 64th Terrance, would have single-family houses.
The total cost of the project would be $18.2 million, with completion by January 2015.
Board members were satisfied with the proposals they have to choose from, and they plan to hold another public workshop in two weeks to give another chance for area residents to learn about the projects before a decision is made.
“This has been an historic meeting for the city and we are about to have something historical in the city,” said Anna Price, member of the CRA board.