News: Proposed 17th Street Hotel Causes Controversy for Local Residents and Homeowners

A proposal for a new 116-room Marriott Residence Inn is being floated around Miami Beach, causing positive and negative reactions from city commissioners and residents.

The hotel proposal calls for a five floor building designed by Miami Architect, Kobi Karp. The lot is between 17th Street and Dade Boulevard West of Alton Road.

West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association co-chair Christine Florez, came out heavily against the project.

“We need to get the City to recognize that residential neighborhoods are not compatible with certain types of development – hotels being one of them. There are many things that make our community great – committed long-term residents, owners and renters alike. They care about our home, our safety, our schools, etc.” She Said. “Hotels in of themselves are not bad! It is where they are located that makes them bad.”

Miami Beach Zoning rules allow for a hotel at that location, but the developers, The Finvarb Group, are asking the Miami Beach Planning Board to reduce the parking requirement and to be allowed to use an onsite parking garage with mechanical lifts to provide the needed 66 parking spaces.

Local residents and homeowners along the Venetian Causeway and West Avenue fear the congestion and parking issue a new hotel would create. But some homeowners are for the project, like long time resident Wayne Alfonso.

“A new hotel would bring more revenue and jobs to the beach. We need the development and the growth. It’s our future.”

The issue even drew comments from Miami residents on the Miami Herald website, “It’s a great idea. Let the tourists enjoy all of Miami Beach in full splendor: the awful service, the exorbitant prices, the loud, over-congested spaces, the mediocre-at-best food, the nasty drunks, the drugged-out jerks, and the struggle to find parking space before giving up and paying $40 for Valet service or the tow-trucks that steal the cars sanctioned by political kick-backs. It’s what makes Miami Beach so attractive to the abuse-seeking crowds. Keep it all on that side of the Causeway!”

Belle Isle Association Board member, Jean-Francois Lejeune came out for the hotel proposal on the Belle Isle Blog: The proposed hotel is fully legal and responds to all the zoning conditions. The only reason that it needs to go to the Planning Board is the issue of the mechanical garage. I do not understand how residents of the Venetian Causeway can accept the presence and possibly the extension of the Standard Hotel (Belle Isle is a residential zoning) while at the same time oppose the hotel at 17th Street (which is in a mixed use commercial district). The current site is an eyesore and a shameful entrance to Miami Beach. The project shows adequate architecture, reasonable in height and in massing. As for the issue of traffic, please, these are old-NIMBY arguments without any real proof and I am afraid that behind these apparent rationale there lie untold and not very democratic real motifs. After the five days of Art Basel hell and in advance of all the hell to come (Boat Show, season, etc.) 30 additional cars at 17th will not choke the area. That is less than one comes in and out of Epicure in 30 minutes, and please look at little this successful commercial venue has done to improve our neighborhood: their parking areas are a shame for Miami Beach!”

A hearing has been scheduled for January 22.

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