NORTH BEACH, Fla., Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- There was a moment, not too long ago, when South Beach wasn't the international destination for sun, fun, shopping, and entertainment that it is today. Prior to the support of local residents, the allure of an internationally-acclaimed television show, and more than a few developers who had a vision to create one of the top vacation destinations in the country, the Art Deco buildings, historic structures and overall ambience had fallen into disrepair. The same is now true for certain sections of North Beach, and now more than a few residents have gotten together to show their support of revitalizing this once thriving neighborhood.
On Tuesday, November 3, residents of Miami Beach will take to the polls for local city elections. Many of them will have a specific topic in mind, ballot question 54, which could determine the fate of Ocean Terrace, a historic section of North Miami Beach between 73rd and 75th streets, just east of Collins Avenue. Dubbed the Ocean Terrace Overlay, the proposed development would allow this once-thriving section of North Beach to prosper once again, bringing in local businesses, a boutique historic hotel, dining, and residences, along with more than 230 parking spaces, and hundreds of jobs.
The man behind the campaign www.ForABetterNorthBeach.com is Sandor Scher, owner of Ocean Terrace Holdings. Throughout Miami Beach, Scher's name and his company Claro Development is synonymous with revitalization, having brought back to life historic properties like the Thompson Hotel, Soho Beach House, and the Raleigh. With support of local residents, home owners associations, and the local chamber of commerce, Scher now hopes to breathe life back into North Beach.
Walk around the Ocean Terrace district these days, and residents are quick to point out a once great section of Miami, replete with the run-down remains of walkable retail district and historical Art Deco style architecture, a dilapidated Days Inn, and plenty of opportunity for crime and other nefarious activities. Like other residents of Miami Beach, North Beach residents would like to see their part of the city thrive and prosper, as it once did. The support for the For A Better North Beach campaign has been overwhelming.
"Voting Yes on #54 will result in preservation of historic properties, and a new first class hotel, approximately 55 new residential units, and replace abandoned retail with no parking, with new retail that will serve residents and visitors – like in the 1950s and 60s, when this was a vibrant retail and tourist area," wrote former Normandy Shores HOA president Micky Minagorri. Residents past and present, just like Minagorri, have come out to show their outpouring of support for the ballot question.
Not simply a plan for more hotels and luxury residences, the Votes Yes #54 campaign focuses on the following key tenets:
- Reducing traffic and creation of over 230 new parking spaces
- Restoration and preservation of historic buildings
- Creation of 400 new local jobs
- Preservation of Miami Beach's unique character and transformation of a rundown section of Miami Beach
- Support of Miami Beach local community, city officials, and homeowner associations
- Density Reduction: changes in zoning enhances residents' quality of life and reduces density. The current density for residential units is reduced from 100 units per acre to 50 units per acre – a down zoning of 50%!
- Neighborhood and Resident Friendly Project: voluntary restrictive covenant that substantially restricts future development with the City providing quality of life protection and will discourage the negative element that gathers in the neighborhood
- Fully Public and Transparent Process: the City Commission voted 6 to 1 in support of the Overlay District's creation and 6 to 1 for placing the FAR increase to voter referendum on the November 3, 2015 ballot
- Widespread Support for this Project: North Beach community support for this proposal includes members of the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Panel, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce & multiple homeowners associations
"I encourage Miami Beach voters to vote YES on Ocean Terrace. The developers have worked diligently and successfully to ensure community concerns were addressed. This was an open and very public endeavor, with overwhelming community support from North Beach residents and organizations, the most impacted constituents. There will be no large outdoor entertainment establishments, strict noise restrictions, and no package liquor stores. There will be about 230 new parking spaces added to the area where there are zero parking spaces on the properties today," says Joy Malakoff, Miami Beach City Commissioner. "Contrary to the misinformation being spread, this project will result in a decrease both in traffic and density compared to what is permissible today, as verified by professional, independent studies. These agreements are contained in a restrictive covenant which runs with the property. In addition, the important historic building facades will remain, and the entire project will be under the restrictions and oversight of the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board once this ballot question passes. Please vote YES to help responsibly and sensitively revitalize North Beach."
Groups including Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Normandy Shores Home Owners Association (HOA), Stillwater Drive HOA, North Beach Development Corporation, and Biscayne Point Neighborhood Association among many others have come out in support of the efforts, although campaigns against the development have popped up as well. www.SaveOceanTerrace.com purports that the zoning changes would strip away the area's historical landmarks, even though all points of the proposition state that this is clearly not the case. There is no mention of any change to the current historic preservation protections in any of the documents and there is no change in the allowable building heights. However, for the last two decades, the district has been virtually abandoned and has become blighted. There will always be opposition, but residents have spoken, and they want to see North Beach revitalized.
Additional supporters include:
- Margueritte Ramos, Normandie Sud Homeowners Association, President, and Mayor's Blue Ribbon Committee on North Beach Panel Member
- Mickey Minagorri, Normandy Shores HOA, Past President
- Carol Housen, North Beach Development Corporation, President & St. Tropez Resident
- Carolina Jones Stillwater Drive HOA, President
- Rick Kendle, North Beach Development Corporation, Board Member, Environmental Attorney
- Richard Hull, Normandy Shores HOA President
- Ted Berman, Biscayne Point HOA, President, Past Planning Board Member
- Daniel Veitia, North Beach Property Owners Association, Past Planning Board Member
- Gary Lebowitz, Ocean Blue HOA, President
- Members of the Mayors Blue Ribbon Panel on North Beach
With plenty of resounding evidence to prove that the Ocean Terrace Overlay will be a boon for the area, reducing crime, increasing commercial opportunities, and providing more residences, it seems that ballot question 54 will be a decisive element on Tuesday's ballot. Not another typical development focused on massive high rises and luxury businesses aimed at one small section of the population, Sandor Scher aims to put his Midas touch on North Beach, giving residents even more reason to love their city.
For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305.864.3434 ext 185.
SOURCE Ocean Terrace Holdings