There have been few properties quite as indicative of Miami-Dade's up-and-down real estate market as Biscayne Landing in North Miami. A former dump and Superfund site, the City of North Miami cleaned up the site at 151st and Biscayne and has been trying to get someone to develop it since 2002. Owners have come and gone (some due to bankruptcy). Plans have been ambitiously announced (including an indoor ski slope) and quietly abandoned. Yet, nothing has ever been built.
Well, the plot finally has new plans in place, dedicated developers, and a new name: SoLeMia.
What exactly does that mean? Well, the "So" is for the Soffers, a family with a development company headed by son Jeffrey Soffer (AKA Mr. Elle Macpherson). They already own the Fontainebleau Hotel and Aventura Mall, two Miami landmarks. "Le" is for LeFrak, another family-run megadevelopment company based out of New York and headed by Richard LeFrak. You can probably figure out the "Mia" yourself.
LaFrak had previously co-owned the site with developer Michael Swerdlow but bought him out after disagreements on direction and brought in the Soffers as a 50 percent partner soon after. Miami-firm Arquitectonica was brought in as architect, and the above rendering is what they all came up with, according to the Wall Street Journal. It includes:
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- 4,390 apartments
- More than 1 million square feet of commercial property (basically a big ol' mall situation)
- Two ten-acre lagoons... which you will actually be able to swim in!
The first two residential towers (which will be rentals) and half of the commercial space will break ground in about 15 months. Infrastructure work has already begun.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, this plan will probably move forward since LaFrak and the Soffers are financing the first steps of the project alone rather than borrowing money.