Neighbors Tussle Over Luxury Miami River Tower as Fight Brews Over Area's Future

The Miami River may soon see an ultra-luxury condo tower with an 85-foot waterfall facing the river.EXPAND
The Miami River may soon see an ultra-luxury condo tower with an 85-foot waterfall facing the river.
Photo by Scotto Bear / CC 2.0

As prices for beach- and bay-front land continue to soar, developers are lining up for the next hot bidding war: the Miami River, which is quickly turning from a local hangout to the next Brickell. But not everyone is in agreement about what the new neighborhood should look like.

In fact, a testy neighborhood feud is brewing over plans for a glitzy, ultra-luxury condo tower on riverfront land. The One River Point building will feature two 60-story towers joined in an L shape, an 85-foot waterfall, and an exclusive members-only penthouse club designed by star hotelier Adrian Zecha. As any luxury condo should, it will have a poolside café with butler service, a private club, and a cigar lounge, along with multimillion-dollar units.

The developer, Shahab Karmely, from New York-based KAR Properties, has expressed his desire to “change the perception” of the west side of the river.

But neighbors in the nearby Mint, Ivy, and Wind condo towers are less than thrilled. In a meeting with Karmely last week at the Wind, they brought up their dissatisfaction with issues such as the 24- to 30-month construction process, the obstruction of their views, and increased traffic.

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“Our belief — maybe naively and mistakenly — was [that] this excitement of trying to create this will become something that will be shared by everybody else who lives here,” Karmely said at the time, according to Miami Today. “Unfortunately, that has not been the case.”

The residents last month filed an appeal of the city's decision to approve the building. Their lawyer wrote that the project is “inappropriate at this specific location” and “fails to consider the existing urban form.” He also objected waivers granted to the project.

But their appeal was denied by Miami’s Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board this past Monday night in a 5-3 vote. It's not clear if the neighbors have any other options; their attorney hasn't responded to messages from New Times.

Properties along the river are fast being swallowed up by developers. The Miami River Commission told the Miami Herald in June that a total of about 4,000 units are slated for development over the next few years, along with new hotels, restaurants, and a megayacht marina. 

Many locals worry about the fate of longtime Miami River staples such as Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market on NW North River Drive, which has been a favorite since the '60s. Trendy, upscale bars and restaurants are also slated for development alongside the new luxury towers.


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