Better Streets Miami Beach

Amid Upzoning and Baylink Debate, Mixed-Use Tower on Alton Road Heads to Planning Board


A month after the Miami Beach Commission voted to modify a height limit and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) bonus, plans for a seven-story mixed-use development have been unveiled by New York developer Michael Shvo.

Designed by architects from Foster + Partners, with the local architect of record Kobi Karp, the proposed project is located on Alton Road in South Beach, between Lincoln Road and 17th Street, on a site previously home to the Epicure Market and Ace Hardware store.

The project will go before the Planning Board for approval at its next meeting on September 26.

An analysis of the traffic study, dated December 2022, projects the proposed project to generate over 2,900 trips a day and nearly 359 PM peak hour car trips. These projections were calculated after subtracting existing traffic counts associated with the current mixed-use development.

Despite the substantial amount of projected car traffic that will add to the already congested area, the upzoning received the support of the West Avenue Neighborhood Association last month. In public comments, the association cited public benefits that have not yet been revealed.

This same group opposes a building similar in scale but less intensive in terms of projected vehicular traffic just 10 blocks down the street.

The proposed development will combine an existing mixed-use site, which currently has Trader Joe’s, short-term transient rentals, additional ground-level retail, and a parking garage.

Containing a total of 244,000 gross square feet, the new portion of the development will include approximately 17,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 181 parking spaces, five residential units totaling nearly 12,000 square feet, and over 90,000 square feet of “Class-A” office space. The zoning change last month reduced the required amount of residential space from nearly 40,000 square feet.

In addition to this proposed project, Shvo also has two other approved office projects: On Washington Avenue across from Soundscape Park and the Lincoln Road clock tower at 407 Lincoln Road. However, as of press time, public records show that Shvo has yet to finalize the clock tower purchase.

As for alternative transportation, the project’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan proposes bike-share memberships and reduced or no-cost public transit passes. Included in the project are 37 short-term and 22 long-term bicycle parking spaces. Short-term spaces are defined as racks located in highly visible locations near the main entrance, while long-term spaces are more secure facilities like bicycle lockers and cages.

City staff have raised concerns about the project’s 150-foot long main driveway, which will cross the protected bicycle lanes on West Avenue. Its location is close to an existing curb cut primarily used by Trader Joe’s, a site that has experienced multiple crashes since its 2019 opening.

In total, there will be six curb cuts across this block of West Avenue’s protected bicycle lane.

The width of the clear pedestrian pathways along Alton Road will be restricted to as narrow as five feet in some sections. Measured from ground level, the building’s height will nearly reach 100 feet, and plans also include a rooftop deck.

The pending approval of this development comes amid ongoing opposition to the Baylink Metromover extension. Critics, including some local residents, city commissioners, and candidates in the upcoming election, argue the extension will encourage unwanted development. Yet, elected officials continue to pass upzonings that encourage car-centric growth with no accompanying public transit mitigation plans.