Coral Gables shouldn’t pass on opportunity to further upgrade urban core

Rendering of Coral Gables City Center’s covered paseo with glass ceilings that will replace the alleyways.

The City of Coral Gables likes to pride itself on its appearance.

Before the exterior of a home can be painted, the color of the paint must be approved by the city. For more than 50 years, the city banned pickup trucks from parking out in the open overnight in residential areas. Its pride has a notable exception.

The city operates two parking garages in the Miracle Mile area. The first is located behind the Miracle Theater at 245 Andalusia and the second is located one block west, at 345 Andalusia, across the street from Publix. For 20 years, the city and successive waves of commissioners, mayors, and city administrators have talked about replacing or renovating the two garages.

But until recently, all the city seemed to be doing was talking about the problem. The city issued a Request for Proposals on what to do with these antiquated parking garages. In 2016, The Allen Morris Company and The Related Group teamed up and submitted the winning proposal.

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What would the city get? The Allen Morris Company/Related Group proposal included a total of 940 public spaces, up from the 630 the city currently has. On top of one garage they would build an office tower, and on top of the second garage, a luxury residential project. The two projects would include walkways with direct access to Miracle Mile.

The two companies have gone above and beyond their proposal, accommodating the city’s requests for modifications resulting in the current adjustments to the proposed project.

In speaking with Allen Morris, he informed me that the issue has been the project’s scope. Morris said that he “understands that the commission’s task is to ensure the best project possible for the city.” And that “while they are working towards an agreed upon scope,” he said that “our common ground is to provide the city with the most ideal solution.”

Even with all the work put in by the Morris/Related venture, the city still is considering canceling the award and razing the two garages and build new ones in their places.

On Feb. 12, this process will once again come to a head, as the Morris/Related team will provide the city with what Morris called “win/win” options, “hopefully meeting everyone’s needs.”

Morris told me that the city’s own estimate pegs the cost of building the new garages at $40 million, money that would have to come from general revenues or bonds the city would issue in a climate of climbing interest rates — or the city could go through with the plan put forth by the Morris/Related venture.

They already have reduced the square footage in the office tower from 150,000 square feet to 116,000 square feet. The residential tower has shrunk from 320 apartments to 246, with the height of the building capped at 150 feet. And, rather than costing the city money, the proposal promises the city a hefty flow of revenue. Allen reiterated that “combinations of these options” were still in play in order to “fully accommodate the municipality.”

In addition, the project is in keeping with the boom of re-urbanization that several cities across the country are experiencing. The project will put a group of daytime office workers who will be the natural consumers of the goods and services the merchants of Miracle Mile have to offer. And it will put a large number of new urban residents who will fill up the Mile in the evenings and on weekends.

For Coral Gables and its residents, this is a clear “win/win” situation. We urge the city to accept the Morris/Related plan for the new municipal garages at its Feb. 12th meeting.


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12 Comments on "Coral Gables shouldn’t pass on opportunity to further upgrade urban core"

  1. This is a “no brainer” from the advantages for the city, to increase business for Miracle Mile, and to the overtaxed homeowners. Something for everyone!!! DO IT!

  2. the proposed building is TOO HIGH. scale it back to no higher than what is there now. stop ruining coral gables.

  3. I second Kenneth! This project will add offices and residences, all paying taxes, and 310 additional parking spaces; a true “no brainer!”

  4. Don’t let anyone kid you. The Gables CBD is already too congested and there is nothing wrong with the current parking garage format, which conforms well to the area’s city scape. Accepting the Morris/Related proposal will simply add architectural mass to the MM corridor and significantly add congestion to the area. We don’t need more of this. This is one clear example where less is more.

  5. Agree with Rick Wyk…leave the current parking garage situation as-is. The CBD is congested..Miracle Mile facelift was a complete disaster…empty storefronts & less parking.

  6. Parking and a limited # of office spaces to offset maintaince costs… YES. Residences, HELL NO.

  7. Double the parking and leave it at that! We don’t need to congest the business district any more than it already is. Just look at the Brickell area to see what unbridled development leads to.

  8. jorge jtamargo | February 4, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Reply

    Dario Pedrajo i believe hits the nail on the head . If any new parking is added , the north side of behind Miracle mile should be looked at . And maybe in the future all motor traffic could be eliminated from the mile and that covered shown in the morris/related team could be placed of the mile enclosing it . But no new offices or residence . I cant even dream of driving near Brickell at night its like how the Grove was in the 1980’s .

  9. I vote for it.that area is’dead at night.

  10. You are getting taxes anyway
    Planting tree everywhere the hurricane season is coming .

    This project will bring Jobs for those out there without one..that area at night is’dead.traffic is going to continue the same .

  11. Commercial on the bottom floor and parking above is the only option that works. Adding residences and offices will only take up the few parking places.

  12. Dr. Danny Levi | February 12, 2019 at 8:36 am | Reply

    Just look at the track record of the Allen Morris Company in Coral Gables. It consistently contributes to the City Beautiful with aesthetically pleasing and functionally superior buildings. Get own with it. The people of Coral Gables deserve action after so many delays.

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