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3-D Architecture, Urban Farming Part of Proposed Development for Miami's Allapattah Neighborhood

Developer Robert Wennett Working with Renowned Architect Bjarke Ingels
August 10, 2018

The Bjarke Ingels Group in New York said a proposed project with developer Robert Wennett in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood would be a destination that maintains the industrial feel of the area.
Credit: Bjarke Ingels.

An innovative development featuring three-dimensional architecture, urban farming and co-living apartments could be coming to the rejuvenated Allapattah neighborhood in Miami.

Developer Robert Wennett and Danish architect Bjarke Ingels have proposed the project on 8.3 acres known as Miami Produce Center, located at 2140 NW 12th Ave. The development also would include restaurants, shops, co-working offices and an educational use.

Wennett did not return phone calls or emails for comment. Daria Pahhota, chief communications officer for Bjarke Ingels Group in New York, said she could not discuss the proposal but submitted renderings and a description of the development to CoStar News.

“At the ground floor, a series of existing produce warehouses will be restored and re-programmed to create a vibrant public realm while preserving the industrial spirit of the neighborhood,” the firm said.

Credit: Bjarke Ingels Group

Some of the buildings in the project would be on stilts, with landscaped public spaces between the warehouses.

The renderings show buildings on stilts, while lush landscaping would fill public spaces between the warehouses, according to the Bjarke Ingels Group description.

“A stack of linear buildings will float above the existing warehouses, generating a large urban courtyard at the center while forming gateways that open to the surrounding context,” the firm added. “On top of each building, programmed ‘roofscapes’ extend the public realm vertically and capture stunning views of downtown Miami and surrounding neighborhoods.”

Wennett and Ingels have filed plans with the city showing maximum building heights of 19 stories.

David Snow, Miami’s chief of urban design, said the proposal will have to go before two review panels before it makes it to the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board and the City Commission.

Although he and other planners are still reviewing the project, Snow said he’s impressed with the effort to restore the existing buildings.

“It’s always our intent to have as little disruption to existing neighborhoods as possible while at the same time making enhancements to those public environments,” he said.

Last year, Wennett’s firm, UIA Management, sold 1111 Lincoln Rd. in Miami Beach and three other nearby properties to CBRE Global Investors Ltd. in Los Angeles for $283 million, according to CoStar records. He assembled the Allapattah site two years ago for $16 million, CoStar data shows.

Ingels, whose firm also has offices in London and Copenhagen, was listed among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2016. In giving him one of its Innovator of the Year awards in 2011, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Ingels “has a reputation for creating eco-friendly spaces with playful design touches.”

He is working on other South Florida projects and has completed two: Audi Design Miami and The Grove at Grand Bay condominiums in Coconut Grove, FL.

Urban agriculture is becoming a staple in some new developments across the country, according to Ed McMahon, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Washington, DC.

He said he originally was skeptical because he didn't think the agriculture was economically viable, but he has changed his mind as grocery stores show interest in buying the fresh food.

"From a food and economic standpoint, they seem to be working," McMahon said.

Allapattah and the Wynwood arts corridor, both in south-central Miami, have been prime redevelopment sites in recent years.

Allapattah, a commercial and residential neighborhood, traditionally has been home to produce, manufacturing and shipping tenants, but coffee shops, creative offices and even a trapeze school have come to the area, said Justin Vance, a sales associate with Lombardi Properties in Miami.

Tenants are drawn to Allapattah for its relatively low rents, which range from about $10 to $18 per square foot, Vance noted.

“It’s a very active neighborhood,” he said. “There’s a lot of speculation and excitement. A lot of people are bullish on Robert Wennett and what he’s going to do.”

Paul Owers, South Florida Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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