We had a question last week.

With over 50 apartments being proposed for the recently purchased theater property and the Hook Square property being considered for development as well, how many apartments could be developed in the new Gateway Overlay Business District?

So we emailed the Miami Springs City Manager to see how many apartments would fit downtown.  Here was the response we had from City Manager, William Alonso:

“What you are asking is a hypothetical question where numerous assumptions have to be made. As you know the downtown area has two districts, the CBD and the new Gateway Overlay District. Both of these have different FAR‚Äôs and requirements. The two areas encompass a huge number of different parcels. It would be impossible and unrealistic to make assumptions as to what current or future owners would or would not do with their properties. This is why we deal with specific projects as they come in.”

Well, since the city hasn’t studied the potential density downtown, we did a little estimate of our own.¬† Let’s start with the following assumptions.¬† Within the new Gateway Overlay District, developers can build three story buildings that include first floor retail and second and third floor residential.¬† The current limit restricts square footage to 900 square feet per residential unit.¬† Based on the existing rules, we know that the property including Sabores, Burritoville and the old theater can fit up to 50 units.

Well, based on the footprint required to build 50 apartments at the current theater location, you can do some quick math to calculate an estimate of how many units would fit on the other parcels of land within the Gateway Overlay Business District.¬† Now, these are not official numbers produced by the city.¬† The city didn’t have any numbers available.¬† These are conservative estimates.¬† It’s possible some parcels may fit even more units.¬† And some parcels may fit less.¬† Furthermore, the city owned parking behind the Farm Stores was not considered in our calculation, but if that were to change you could fit even more apartments.¬† For our purposes, we’ve estimated you can fit up to 215 units.¬† Since this is an estimate, lets assume a margin of error of plus or minus 10%. ¬†That would give us a range between 193 units to 237 units. ¬†Again, we’re less concerned about the exact number, but wanted to get a rough idea of what additional development might look like.

NOTE:  This is based on the 900 square foot minimum apartment size requirement.  If the city lowers the standard to 800 square foot average, then you could potentially add 12.5% more units within the same area.

Let’s emphasize that these are estimates of what could come to Miami Springs.¬† Right now, there are only plans to develop the Sabores / Burritoville / theater property.¬† Plus, the city has expressed that there is interest in developing the old gym property on Hook Square.¬† This does not mean, nor do we expect, that the entire area would ever be redeveloped.¬† We’re just sharing what the max potential increase to density could look like if it were used to its fullest potential.


On Friday, the city published a fact sheet on the Gateway Overlay Business District.  Within that Fact Sheet, there is the following admission:

Note: Using the Theater Property as an example, please consider the following:

A) Under the 2004 Ordinance, the owner could build approximately 37 residential units all at 900 SF minimum per unit in the CBD.
B) Now within the Gateway District, approximately 50 units can be built on the 2nd and 3rd  floors at the current 900 SF.

In other words, the creation of the new Gateway Business District increased the amount of density that could be added downtown.  Apparently, the Gateway Business District was not as innocuous as it first appeared to be.  Most residents are completely unaware of the amount of density that can now be added downtown.

If under the 2004 ordinance, the owner could only build 37 residential units instead of the 50 units they can today that means the old 2004 ordinance would allow 26% less density.  If we apply the 2004 ordinance to the entire Gateway District, we can assume roughly 26% less density than what is currently allowed.  Again, we estimated a total of 215 units that could be created within the Gateway Business District under the new Gateway District Ordinance.  If the prior ordinance allowed 26% less density then we could estimate (roughly) that the old ordinance would only allow up to 159 residential units.


What does first floor retail and 2nd and 3rd floor residential look like?  Look no further than the Bella Bakery building shown on this page.


Do you think the city should roll back the Gateway Business District Density changes to 2004 levels?

Do you like the new allowable density downtown and like the changes the Gateway Business District is bringing in?

Do you think the city should add even more density and lower the standard for minimum square footage from 900 square feet to an average of 800 square feet with the smallest allowable apartment at 700 square feet?

Post your comments below and share with your friends.


As a resident, you’re allowed, and encouraged to communicate with the city administration, mayor, and city council on pending ordinance changes as well as anything in the city, regardless of whether it’s on the agenda or not. ¬†It’s your city and your council is here to represent your concerns.

To share your thoughts and opinions with the city council, you can copy / paste the following emails into your email client:

bestb@miamisprings-fl.gov, mitchellm@miamisprings-fl.gov, zapatam@miamisprings-fl.gov, Petralandaj@miamisprings-fl.gov, bainb@miamisprings-fl.gov


The next Council Meeting is on Monday, December 10th at 7pm at the 2nd floor council chambers of city hall.  You can sign up to speak at Open Forum and/or sign up to speak at the Hearing for the First Reading of the proposed Ordinance.




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