The Coral Gables City Commission held a workshop earlier this week to discuss adopting an updated zoning code. The update includes both major and minor changes. Particularly there is one area which is getting all the attention – Miracle Mile. Some commissioners have reservations on the update as presented and the effect it will have on the landscape of Miracle Mile forever.
Since 1922, Miracle Mile has been the main-street of Coral Gables. Like all other main-streets in America, on-street parking is limited and buildings are low-rise mixed use. Such examples can be seen in Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue, Scottsdale’s Main Street Old Town even Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive.
In the 1940’s Miracle Mile saw a redevelopment boom of what is currently still standing today, simplistic one-story designs relying on on-street and municipal garage parking for their patrons.
The new proposed zoning code is several hundred pages, complex in language and terminology. Most of the changes are harmless and provides necessary corrections to things that were ambiguous and obsolete. Yet words matter and what appears to be a simple change to parking requirements on Miracle Mile could result in higher buildings on the city’s main-street.
Current Zoning Code: Max 6 stories, 70-foot-high buildings with on-site parking requirements.
Proposed Update: Max 6 stories, 70-foot-high buildings without on-site parking requirements, allowing for remote parking.
Last year a developer announced they wanted to bring a boutique hotel to Miracle Mile without any onsite parking. After a transfer of development rights, the hotel was slated to be 7 stories, with over 28,000 square feet of food and retail space. Patrons would rely on the overloaded valet system and remote parking it would lease from existing garages within 1,000 feet. This change in code is exactly what they are waiting for to break ground. City Hall Insiders tell Gables Insider that the former Navarro Pharmacy is also looking to re-develop and increase its height and density.
The reason that you do not see higher buildings on Miracle Mile today is because of parking requirements, essentially one-story buildings (1.45 FAR) do not require on-site parking. Hillstone’s Restaurant is an example of a newer construction with 1.45 FAR without on-site parking. If the proposed update is adopted as presented at the workshop, you could see a Hillstone’s with five additional floors on top and parking someplace else.
The item will be heard on first reading and is open to the public for comment at the next City Commission meeting on October 27, 2020.