Major Biscayne Boulevard projects near Arsht are approved

A Spanish developer’s plan for a major commercial and residential project on Biscayne Boulevard near the Arsht Center has been overwhelmingly approved by the city of Miami’s Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board.

The board voted 10-1 Wednesday night in favor of Espacio USA’s scheme for a 12-story office and retail building and a separate 55-story residential tower on the 1400 block of Biscayne. The office building would face the Arsht’s opera house across Northeast 14th Street, but will stand at an angle so as not to block out the performing arts center.

The project represents a major modification of an existing development permit, originally approved in 2006, that would have allowed a far larger twin-tower development on the site, which occupies most of the block. Because it’s based on the existing approval, the new version does not require city commission approval.

Monday’s vote clears the way for Espacio, a subsidiary of a large Spanish developer, to begin construction of the office tower, the first phase in what the firm says will be a five-year project. Company officials say they hope to break ground early next year.