Aventura - Sunny Isles

Developer in Aventura sidewalk dispute gets permit

Rendering of the Privé at Island Estates condominium project on the north island of Island Estates in Aventura.
Rendering of the Privé at Island Estates condominium project on the north island of Island Estates in Aventura. GLOBALAERIALS.NET

The developers of a controversial luxury condominium project in a private island off Aventura received a building permit from the city and will begin construction despite pending litigation against them.

The city of Aventura issued a building permit Tuesday to the developers of Privé at Island Estates, a 160-unit luxury condominium to be built over two, 16-story towers. The towers would be located on an eight-acre island north of another island comprised of multimillion-dollar homes. The condo island is connected by a bridge to the single-family home island, which connects to the mainland.

The proposed condo towers have caused deep tensions with the homeowners of Island Estates for more than a year over traffic concerns. The dispute reached a crescendo last month when the developers built a sidewalk in front of the multimillion-dollar homes. Several of the homeowners blocked the site where the crews were laying the cement.

Two homeowners were even arrested after running over the still-wet cement with their Porsche SUV. Dara Clarke and her husband David were charged with criminal mischief causing damages of $1,000 or more, among other charges.

In their lawsuits, the homeowners contend the developers built the sidewalk on their property illegally.

“Anything the developer builds is with the risk that the court orders it torn down,” said Susan Raffanello, the homeowners’ attorney.

Before granting any permits, the city had required the developers — BH3 and Gary Cohen — to build a sidewalk to accommodate the increased pedestrian traffic from building the two condo towers.

With their project initially stalled, the developers filed a $200 million lawsuit against the city of Aventura and a $225 million lawsuit against the 23 homeowners. The suits are pending; the developers wouldn’t comment.

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