Coral Gables

These 2 garages in the City Beautiful aren’t so beautiful. It’s down to 2 ideas

Rendering of Coral Gables City Center’s proposed renovation of the parking garages at 245 and 345 Andalusia Ave.
Rendering of Coral Gables City Center’s proposed renovation of the parking garages at 245 and 345 Andalusia Ave. Coral Gables City Center

The plan to redevelop two garages in downtown Coral Gables is moving closer to a decision from the City Commission and involves some major players in the South Florida development world.

The two top-ranked proposals, from an initial group of five, are from TC Gables LLC and Coral Gables City Center and include new parking technology, hundreds of new parking spaces and multistory, mixed-use buildings with retail and apartment units.

TC Gables is a partnership between developers Terranova, ZOM and Gibson Development with design by Arquitectonica. Coral Gables City Center is a collaboration between The Allen Morris Company and Related, with design work from Zyscovich Architects.

The plans for the garages, Garage 1 at 245 Andalusia Ave. and Garage 4 at 345 Andalusia Ave., have been in place since 2013. The city and developers hope to bring cutting-edge design to the aging structures, which were built in the 1950s and ’60s, draw younger professionals to Miracle Mile and downtown Coral Gables and to complement the Miracle Mile/Giralda Avenue streetscape project.

“The thought is not only to replace what is at this point antiquated garages, but also to add spaces that are lost through the streetscape construction,” said Javier Betancourt, the city’s economic development director.

The project is still far from an official vote on planning and zoning changes or site plans. But renderings and plans from both groups have been ranked and discussed by an evaluation committee and the City Center proposal is currently ranked higher. The most recent plans are the second phase of the request for proposals and the developers presented before the committee in December 2016.

The City Center proposal includes three different design ideas that all involve multiple floors, Mediterranean-style foyers, ground-level retail space and apartment units above the parking area. There are also plans for a “smart parking” system that would direct drivers to available parking and show them how many spots are available at a given time.

The developer’s preferred design idea includes building Garage 1 up to 16 stories with about 11,800 square feet of commercial space, close to 800 parking spaces and about 140,000 square feet of office space on the top six floors with an open-air cafe and park on the building’s 12th floor. The building would be about 264 feet high with a tower of Ponce de Leon featured on top.

Garage 4 would be 17 stories and rise to about 212 feet with a similar tower structure on top. The proposal has about 16,000 square feet of commercial space, an additional 799 parking spots and about 244 luxury apartment units.

“These garages are so important to the city and so strategically placed that whatever is built there will be important in defining the future of Coral Gables,” said Allen Morris, part of the Coral Gables City Center team.

The TC Gables proposal involves renovation of the garages and building a Mediterranean-style tower at 220 Miracle Mile that would house about 180 rental apartment units and rise to about 184 feet. Garage 1 would be built up to 9 stories and include about 923 parking spaces, with about 340 being housed in the tower, and about 17,000 square feet of ground level retail. The garage and the tower would be connected through a paseo and other connecting points.

Garage 4 would rise to 16 stories and also include about 920 parking spaces, 148 apartment units on top of the garage and about 33,700 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

“Our years of ownership on Miracle Mile have provided us with an intimate understanding of the Miracle Mile area and the interests and concerns of the city,” TC Gables said in its proposal.

Staff members are preparing a recommendation for the commission and a vote could happen at the Jan. 24 commission meeting. Betancourt has stressed that the item is still in the early conceptual stages, and once a developer is chosen, there will still be a long road ahead for the project.

“They all need a lot of work in terms of zoning issues. It’s a complex project so it’s going to require multiple reviews,” Betancourt said.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3