Ross, the real estate developer behind Related Companies, is proposing to build a “six-star” hotel and luxury apartment tower on the Deauville site at 6701 Collins Ave. He hired architect Frank Gehry to design the building.
Ross proposed new zoning changes for a two-block extension of Collins Avenue that would increase the height of any new project at the Deauville site by 87%, from 200 feet to 375 feet, and give it 50% more interior square feet.
The zoning changes would have to pass in a voter referendum because of the proposed increase in density. The city committee is due to vote in July on whether to include it in the November ballot.
The Planning Board’s 5-1 vote on Tuesday was advisory and non-binding. The committee can still reject the project. But for Ross and his supporters, who want to see a “transformational” alternative to the long-closed Deauville Hotel being demolished, the vote was a step toward their goal.
“I am grateful to the Miami Beach Planning Board for their positive recommendation to the city committee on our vision for a transformative project,” Ross said in a statement after the vote. “I am personally committed to working with the community and making sure this project is a good fit for Miami Beach and the future of North Beach.”
A month after the project was announced, neither Ross nor Jerry made any bids for the proposed project. Some residents said this was worrying.
“We need to know what we’re dealing with,” said Elizabeth Lawton, a resident who lives in a nearby apartment building.
Ross, who signed a purchase agreement for the property, called the meeting and said his team would present designs and interact with the community on the project.
“What I do know is that we are going to build something that will have tremendous economic development opportunities,” he said. “We will confess what Deauville is, or what he was, I should say.”
The only details of the project released on Tuesday came from Attorney Nessin Kasdin, the former mayor of Miami Beach who represents Ross in the deal, which he said will include about 175 hotel rooms and 150 condominiums. He said it would also include unspecified public benefits for discussion with the city.
Qasidin added that the project development team will retain an architect with experience in preserving historical heritage. He cited an analysis from a consultant that said the project would generate $6 million annually in additional property taxes to the newly created North Beach Community Redevelopment Agency.
Kasdeen asked the board to “take a leap of confidence” and said the development team would release the statements by the July committee meeting. Deauville is headed for demolition after falling into disrepair.
He said Jerry had been working on an experimental design for the building for weeks.
“It works differently. You can’t just tell him to come up with a concept plan. Frank has a specific design process in his studio where he makes model by model,” Kasden said.
A number of residents indicated support for the project The voters will have the final say in the end.
“My whole family and I sincerely hope that you will pay this to get on the ballot,” said Ronnie Eisenberg, president of the Biscayne Point Homeowners Association.
The only no vote came from board member Tanya Bhatt, who said she was excited about the possibility of a new venture but worried about asking for more square footage without bids to see how The construction may affect the views of the neighbors.
She said Ross could build a successful project with the square foot currently allowed on the site and asked if he would build the complex If his request for more square footage is rejected.
Cassden did not answer that question, saying he could not reveal details about the property’s purchase contract.
“I think if we’re talking about something so big and so important to the city of Miami Beach, it has to be a transparent conversation,” Bhatt said.
This story was originally published June 22, 2022 10:45 am.