On Tuesday, the Coral Gables City Commission approved plans that will transform what is now a surface parking lot and small commercial building into a mixed-use project on South Dixie Highway. Plans for Gables Station, developed by NP International who is also responsible for the anticipated Paseo de la Riviera project, will include residential units, a hotel, retail, parking and open space. According to a recent article from The Real Deal, the 4.3-acre site is located at 251 South Dixie Highway and is currently used to house cars from the Collection.
NP International made a solid case for their project, presenting the following positive points: public benefits that include funding a portion of the Underline linear park, ground level landscaping, funding the purchase of a trolley and operating costs, and incorporating Bahamian building design. The commission also agreed to a request that the height restrictions be increased to meet their need for 16 stories as opposed to the 10 allowed by the current zoning. NP International claims that the taller heights will compensate for the noise generated by the nearby Metrorail as well avoid issues with the power lines that will need to be installed. Most residents who attended the meeting were in support of Gables Station, however some spoke out against it.
“I really question whether or not we’re kidding ourselves that people who live there are going to use public transportation,” said Marlin Ebbert, a Coral Gables resident.
The plans for the project, which is certainly transit-oriented, a trend we’ve seen more of in recent developments, include three towers, totally 526 luxury apartments, 66 hotel/extended-stay units, 75,294 square feet of retail space, and a paseo with green space. Developers are currently seeking LEED certification. Located on the border of Coral Gables, the project will run parallel to both the South Dixie Highway and the Metrorail (and planned Underline). Jorge Hernandez, architect of Gables Station, has stated that the southernmost building is designed to activate public space with a plaza, arcades, colonnades and fountains. He calls it “a common living room.”
“Since the beginning of time, we have had to walk out to U.S. 1 and look at the ugliness or parking lots with trucks and cars,” said Leona Cooper, community activist and historian. “It’s about time that our neighborhood experiences something new and beautiful.”
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