4
| News |

Three Miami Beach Parking Garages Could Be Converted to Affordable Housing

Home, sweet home?EXPAND
Home, sweet home?
flickr via Thomas Hawk
^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Parking in Miami Beach can be such an impossible task that once you find a spot, you never want to leave. And under a novel idea being considered by city officials, parking garages could become literal homes.

To solve the Beach's mounting affordable housing crisis, city commissioners are looking at converting parking garages into workforce housing. Earlier this year, they passed a resolution that calls for housing to be considered for all new garages, including one planned at the site of a surface lot at 13th Street and Collins Avenue.

"We really, really need workforce housing in the city," Commissioner Joy Malakoff said during a February meeting, "and this gives us one opportunity."

Now city officials are looking at retrofitting existing garages. A study of ten of them shows three top options for the concept: the garages at 12th Street and Drexel Avenue, 13th Street and Collins Avenue, and the 17th Street Garage. Each was chosen because it can accommodate common areas and dedicated elevators, among other needs, according to the study, which was provided to commissioners last week.

The garages are often packed with cars, so the city wouldn't replace parking floors with apartments. Instead, it would add floors on top. That would require strengthening the existing structures, and the city says more research is needed to estimate costs. Malakoff pictures the garages featuring micro-units and, potentially, rooftop pools.

It's no secret that affordable housing is a huge problem for Miami Beach, where city stats show rent has spiked to between $1,500 and $2,300 for a one-bedroom unit, putting housing on the island out of reach for many of the service workers who make up its workforce. More than half of households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing; 20 percent pay 30 to 49.9 percent; and a quarter spend 50 percent or more.

Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez says parking garages offer "a creative way" to tackle the problem by using land the city already has. "You know how expensive real estate is on Miami Beach," she says. "It'd be a lot more difficult for the city to acquire land. And we're not going to take public green space."

Far-fetched as the idea might seem, faced with plenty of cars circling the city in search of spots, commissioners also hope parking demand will decrease sometime in the future.

"As automatic cars come into Miami Beach and as Uber and Lyft become even more popular, the expectation is we will not need as many parking spaces as we do today," Malakoff says.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.