Downtown Miami paves the way for 15,000 more residential units

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Written by Monica Correa on September 27, 2022

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Downtown Miami paves the way for 15,000 more residential units

Analysis commissioned by the Miami DDA’s Downtown Development of Regional Impact (DDRI) Task Force has mapped out land use exchanges to create a loan pool that will enable approximately 15,000 more downtown housing units already above the development line.

North Carolina-based planning, engineering and design consultant Kimley-Horn’s July 21 memorandum summarized potential rebalancing scenarios for the development program caps, using land exchange rates that would convert some less-used categories into more-demanded uses, such as housing and office. The study showed “an excess [in use] of development credits for residential land use and a surplus of development credits for all other land uses.”

The DDRI, adopted in 1987 when development capacity was approved to be developed in three phases, facilitates large-scale developments in the city center that developers can plan to expand the area, according to the city. Each land use has its own development credit allocation. The current development credits, as of May, include 63 more occupied housing units than permitted.

Available are 1,945,545 sq ft of idle credits for offices, 947,223 sq ft for retail and 3,486 rooms for hotels. But there is already an overuse of 63 housing units, for a total of 35,300 unit credits provided and 35,363 unit credits used.

There is also excess to add convention space totaling 702,780 square feet, industrial space 1,762,884 square feet and institutional space 569,881 square feet, according to the study.

“Kimley-Horn provided some support [to analyze] how to calibrate and recredit areas,” said Lakisha Hull, director of the City of Miami Planning Department. “So based on the memo, we’re pretty confident that we have a way to move forward, especially when it comes to housing.”

“We did some drills in the office space and based on downtown trends, we [could] Do some exchanges that focus on swapping land uses that aren’t generally needed, such as B. Industrial and institutional,” said Sue Trone, city chief for comprehensive planning. “We need some office, less retail, and we can get about 15,000 to 17,000 housing units.”

Exchange rates were used in the analysis to represent potential conversions from each land use with excess credits to eliminate the excess of 63 dwelling units as the DDRI Increment III development order allows for a simultaneous increase and decrease in land use.

Office use would require 14,722 credits to eliminate the excess housing units in the conversion, the memo said. This would require 6,987 credits for retail and 122,844 credits for commercial space.

To obtain 1,000 housing units, the report showed that an exchange of 299,022 office space credits would be required; 117,887 credits from retail; 605 credits from hotel; 143,611 credits would be needed for the institutional area and 5,212 for attractions, measured in seats used.

The DDRI Task Force should present a resolution that would be “close, not risky,” said Melissa Tapanes Llahues, a shareholder of Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin and Tapanes Zoning, land use and environmental law and a member of the Miami DDA board. She advised starting with an exchange scenario of 1,000 units to cover the 63 units over the limit.

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