Miami Beach

Faena arts center in Mid-Beach gets green light from Miami Beach Commission

Miami Beach City Commissioners Joy Malakoff, Deede Weithorn and Mayor Philip Levine review agenda items at Wednesday’s meeting.
Miami Beach City Commissioners Joy Malakoff, Deede Weithorn and Mayor Philip Levine review agenda items at Wednesday’s meeting. Miami Herald Staff

The Miami Beach City Commission has paved the way for well-known hotelier Alan Faena to build a 10,000 square-foot event space as part of a planned revamp of Mid-Beach.

Faena owns a six-block stretch of properties between 32nd and 35th streets along Collins Avenue, where he aims to create a hip new hub for the quiet Mid-Beach neighborhood. At Wednesday’s Miami Beach City Commission meeting, Faena got the necessary approvals to move forward with an arts and culture center that would be between 33rd and 34th Streets on the west side of Collins Avenue and be used as an art exhibition, performance and meeting space.

In October, when commissioners first weighed loosening zoning restrictions and creating an overlay district to allow for the building, residents from nearby Portugal Towers and King David Towers expressed their concerns for traffic and noise that would come with the development.

Faena and the residents have since met to hash out details that would make everyone happy, and they came close. New regulations to further soundproof the building, along with limitations on hours of operations and deliveries were added. But there were more some negotiations to be done Wednesday night.

“We think they get us almost all the way there,” said Marcie Oppenheimer Nolan, attorney for Portgual Towers.

Commissioner Michael Greico led the conversation with commissioners, Nolan and Neisen Kasdin, former Miami Beach mayor and attorney representing Faena. They hashed out hours for deliveries and trash pickup, settling on 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

The residents didn’t get everything they wanted, nor did Faena, but there’s something everyone can work with, said Commissioner Ed Tobin.

The residents were concerned about noise. An added regulation says if more than six valid code violations are placed on the property with a consecutive 12-month period, the city could make the center reapply for permission to operate under a likely more restrictive conditional use.

“It’s a pretty strong remedy for the city to have,” City Attorney Raul Aguila said.

In other business:

▪ Miami Beach Police will lighten up on issuing tickets for bicyclists on Lincoln Road during the holiday season. After finishing a period of increased enforcement that lasted from Nov. 24 through Dec. 7, the police department reports giving out 447 citations. Commissioners asked Police Chief Dan Oates if cops could be more mindful of the holidays as they enforce. Oates said he’d tell officers to use discretion and compassion when issuing warning and citations through the next few weeks.

▪ Commissioners gave initial approval to an ordinance that would require nude dance clubs to check official identification of all performers and dancers, as well as keeping a shift log confirming in/out times and that the IDs were checked. Ed Tobin proposed the measure, saying it was to codify procedures that were put in place after a 13-year-old girl was found performing at Club Madonna last year.

▪  An ordinance prohibiting the naming and co-naming of some of the Beach’s major streets passed on second reading. This includes Fifth Street, 71st Street, 41st Street, Collins Avenue, Ocean Drive, Alton Road and Ocean Drive. This is not directly related to the controversy over 41st Street, co-named Arthur Godfrey Road, which will be discussed again in January.

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