New apartment hotels banned in South Beach area

Last week’s 5: 0 vote will prevent owners of much of the southern fifth residential neighborhood from converting their buildings into apartment hotels (iStock)

After more than a dozen residents described sexual acts in public, defecation, and the need to carry a gun to get out, the Miami Beach Planning Board backed a proposed ordinance to ban new apartments. hotels in some areas of the southern fifth quarter of the city.

Last week’s 5-0 vote will prevent homeowners in much of the southern fifth residential neighborhoods from converting their buildings into apartment hotels, at least temporarily. The Miami Beach City Commission has yet to give final approval for the ban to be permanent.

The proposed ordinance seeks to close a loophole that has allowed developers to turn apartment buildings and condos in the South-of-Fifth residential area into hotels, a trend that is “negatively impacting apartment uses.” existing residential buildings, as well as the residential character of RPS-1 and RPS-2, ”Planning Director Tom Mooney wrote in a memo to planning board members. “RPS” stands for Residential Performance Standard.

The legislation allowing apartment hotels was originally intended to encourage the preservation of historically significant buildings with structures that were both residences and hotels. Instead, Mooney said, the developers only used one unit as a full-time residential apartment and the rest of the units as short-term rentals.

Fifteen residents of southern Fifth called in public comments to beg council members to shut down apartment hotels in their area. Many described horrific behavior which they blamed on short-term apartment rental clients.

Gerardo Gonzalez, president of 360 Meridian, told board members that he often sees people “urinating, defecating and engaging in live sex on the street.”

“I can see it from my balcony. I never imagined five years ago that South-of-Fifth turned into the zoo it has now. It’s chaos here, ”Gonzalez said. “I actually had to carry my gun everywhere, and I never used to carry my gun everywhere… Now when I go out with my daughter or my wife, I have to carry my gun. And my wife wears it too.

Keith Marks, a Continuum resident and board member of the South-of-Fifth Neighborhood Association, has denounced the apartment hotels as faithless businesses. “Calling it a hotel does a hotel a disservice. A hotel has a reception. They have a responsibility. They have security. They have a certain rule of law, even if some hotels bring elements that we are not happy with in the southern fifth region, ”he said.

Marks told the council he was shocked to see in The real deal that a real estate agent “was promoting it as a great idea for investors, and that they should start buying old apartment complexes and turning them into this so they can make money on rentals short term Airbnb “.

Confirmed brands at TRD that he was referring to a July 16 article about nightlife entrepreneur Louis Puig paying $ 5.6 million for a 24-unit apartment building with the intention of turning it into an apartment hotel “Boutique” with 20 rooms. Listing agent Susan Gale of One Sotheby’s International said the building at 333 Jefferson Avenue was the “type of property that everyone is looking for,” adding: “There are a huge number of cash buyers coming from all over the place. looking for properties like this. because Airbnb has become super popular.

In December, 13,000 square feet of land at 200 Collins Avenue with an apartment building and an office building sold for $ 6 million. A spokesperson for the buyer said TRD that a Vonder-branded apartment hotel would be established on the property, with rooms rented between $ 200 and $ 450 a night.

Miami Beach legislation will have no effect on apartment hotels that already operate in residential areas of South-of-Fifth. Developers who have already obtained a building permit can still continue with their plans to build their hotel residences, a town planner confirmed at the meeting. The code will also not prevent the establishment of new apartment hotels in other parts of the city.

No one at the meeting spoke in favor of the aparthotels.

Giselle Franco, a real estate agent affiliated with the Susan Gale Group, said TRD that apartment hotels are being unfairly blamed for the bad behavior happening all over Miami Beach by people taking advantage of “insanely cheap rates” during the pandemic. “Many owners want to transform their apartment into [short-term rentals]. They make a lot more income that way than renting it monthly, ”Franco said.

So far in Miami Beach, the pendulum is starting to swing somewhat against hoteliers and establishments serving alcohol late at night.

Following complaints from residents of Flamingo Park, the city will hold a hearing on September 28 regarding the revocation of an outdoor entertainment permit for the rooftop terrace of the Goodtime Hotel. And in July, the Miami Beach City Commission failed to get enough votes to approve legislation that would have allowed Ronny Finvarb to build a hotel at 1790 Alton Road, after owners of Sunset Harbor feared a other hotel could make the area less residential and closer to the ocean. Drive.

Last May, a slight majority of the commission passed a law that would stop the service of alcohol on Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue in the entertainment district at 2 a.m. instead of 5 a.m., a move supported by the real estate developers Don Peebles, Jorge Pérez and Barry Sternlicht. Less than a month later, the owners of the Clevelander filed a lawsuit to overturn the early closure, though the decision is now under appeal. On November 2, residents of Miami Beach will also be asked, in a non-binding referendum, whether the last call should be canceled from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. across the city.

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