500 Alton's Fate Could Depend on Public Referendum

Categories: Unreal Estate

The super developers behind 500 Alton, an ambitious development plan that focuses on what would become Miami Beach's tallest building, knew their plan didn't meet city codes. But, hey, it's only local government and they're super developers. There's ways of getting around those things, but it's quite possible things could get a lot tougher for those developers. The plans could go to a public referendum.

See also: 500 Alton: All the Details on South Beach's Proposed Tallest Building

Related and Crescent Heights's plans for 500 Alton call for a 50-story residential tower with units starting at $2 million. The problem? The current height limit for the area are set at just 75 feet and seven total stories.

They could get around that with a vote from a supermajority of the city commission and approval form the design and planning boards.

However, things could get a bit more complicated. The parcel of land they've assembled, which stretches from 500 to 700 Alton Road, could be considered one separate parcel or three separate parcels depending on the interoperation of city laws. To build that 50-story building they'd need to pool together the development rights from all three plots of lands.

According to the Miami Herald, City Attorney Jose Smith thinks that because those three separate lots are separated by public roads they can't be considered a single parcel. So it would not be legal to pool all three lots' development rights together.

Thanks to the Save Miami Beach campaign of the '90s, changing such rules require a city-wide referendum.

Basically, the civic history of Miami Beach is scattered with several laws and referendums that prevents (or at least makes it really, really hard for) developers from building giant-ass condo buildings wherever they please.

Even if that referendum passed, the developers would still need to get past the city commission and two boards.

Though, the Herald points out that to get around that law the city of Miami Beach could just hand over the two public roads to the developers. We're sure that would go over well with local activists.

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Tomas Ayala
Tomas Ayala

Better the public than the money hounds.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

What was hilarious about this, back in the day when those condos were going up around 5th & Alton. Those were being flipped for 3X what the pre-construction prices were before the buildings were finished and with each one, the view of the intracoastal that was it's selling point became blocked by the next condo that was going up and in the way of that view. Everyone was buying a living room & balcony to living room & balcony view of their neighbor's condo across the street. When another I know was looking into buying, pre-construction was $ 250K and they were eing flipped for easily $ 650-750K. I figure with the obstructed view, those were really lucky to be worth $ 125-150K. What a 6-7 year bubble of fraud & abuse that was ?


Miami Beach is already full of towering condominiums and dumb zoning.  Fool the public with pretty renderings and a public park part of this project and it is already 90 percent passed. 

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